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B.    JOWETT,    M.A. 







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AND    IN    THE    UNIVERSlfY    OF    OXFORD, 






IN  publishing  a  third  edition  of  the  Republic  of  Plato 
(originally  included  in  my  edition  of  Plato's  works),  I  have 
to  acknowledge  the  assistance  of  several  friends,  especially 
of  my  secretary,  Mr.  Matthew  Knight,  now  residing  for  his 
health  at  Davos,  and  of  Mr.  Frank  Fletcher,  Exhibitioner 
of  Balliol  College.  To  their  accuracy  and  scholarship  I  am 
under  great  obligations.  The  excellent  index,  in  which 
are  contained  references  to  the  other  dialogues  as  well  as 
to  the  Republic,  is  entirely  the  work  of  Mr.  Knight.  I  am 
also  considerably  indebted  to  Mr.  J.  W.  Mackail,  Fellow 
of  Balliol  College,  who  read  over  the  whole  book  in  the 
previous  edition,  and  noted  several  inaccuracies. 

The  additions  and  alterations  both  in  the  introduction 
and  in  the  text,  affect  at  least  a  third  of  the  work. 

Having  regard  to  the  extent  of  these  alterations,  and  to 
the  annoyance  which  is  felt  by  the  owner  of  a  book  at  the 
possession  of  it  in  an  inferior  form,  and  still  more  keenly 
by  the  writer  himself,  who  must  always  desire  to  be  read  as 
he  is  at  his  best,  I  have  thought  that  some  persons  might 
like  to  exchange  for  the  new  edition  the  separate  edition 
of  the  Republic  published  in  1881,  to  which  this  present 
volume  is  the  successor.  I  have  therefore  arranged  that 
those  who  desire  to  make  this  exchange,  on  depositing  a 
perfect  copy  of  the  former  separate  edition  with  any  agent 
of  the  Clarendon  Press,  shall  be  entitled  to  receive  the  new 
edition  at  half-price. 

It  is  my  hope  to  issue  a  revised  edition  of  the  remaining 
Dialogues  in  the  course  of  a  year. 


THE  Republic  of  Plato  is  the  longest  of  his  works  with  the  Republic. 
exception  of  the  Laws,  and  is  certainly  the  greatest  of  them. 
There  are  nearer  approaches  to  modern  metaphysics  in  the 
Philebus  and  in  the  Sophist ;  the  Politicus  or  Statesman  is  more 
ideal ;  the  form  and  institutions  of  the  State  are  more  clearly 
drawn  out  in  the  Laws ;  as  works  of  art,  the  Symposium  and  the 
Protagoras  are  of  higher  excellence.  But  no  other  Dialogue  of 
Plato  has  the  same  largeness  of  view  and  the  same  perfection  of 
style  ;  no  other  shows  an  equal  knowledge  of  the  world,  or  con- 
tains more  of  those  thoughts  which  are  new  as  well  as  old,  and 
not  of  one  age  only  but  of  all.  Nowhere  in  Plato  is  there  a 
deeper  irony  or  a  greater  wealth  of  humour  or  imagery,  or  more 
dramatic  power.  Nor  in  any  other  of  his  writings  is  the  attempt 
made  to  interweave  life  and  speculation,  or  to  connect  politics 
with  philosophy.  The  Republic  is  the  centre  around  which  the 
other  Dialogues  may  be  grouped ;  here  philosophy  reaches  the 
highest  point  (cp.  especially  in  Books  V,  VI,  VII)  to  which  ancient 
thinkers  ever  attained.  Plato  among  the  Greeks,  like  Bacon 
among  the  moderns,  was  the  first  who  conceived  a  method  of 
knowledge,  although  neither  of  them  always  distinguished  the 
bare  outline  or  form  from  the  substance  of  truth ;  and  both  of 
them  had  to  be  content  with  an  abstraction  of  science  which  was 
not  yet  realized.  He  was  the  greatest  metaphysical  genius  whom 
the  world  has  seen ;  and  in  him,  more  than  in  any  other  ancient 
thinker,  the  germs  of  future  knowledge  are  contained.  The 
sciences  of  logic  and  psychology,  which  have  supplied  so  many 
instruments  of  thought  to  after-ages,  are  based  upon  the  analyses 
of  Socrates  and  Plato.  The  principles  of  definition,  the  law  of 
contradiction,  the  fallacy  of  arguing  in  a  circle,  the  distinction 
between  the  essence  and  accidents  of  a  thing  or  notion,  between 
means  and  ends,  between  causes  and  conditions ;  also  the  division 
of  the  mind  into  the  rational,  concupiscent,  and  irascible  elements, 
or  of  pleasures  and  desires  into  necessary  and  unnecessary — these 


ii  The  greatness  of  Plato. 

Republic,  and  other  great  forms  of  thought  are  all  of  them  to  be  found  in  the 
Republic,  and  were  probably  first  invented  by  Plato.  The  greatest 
of  all  logical  truths,  and  the  one  of  which  writers  on  philosophy 
are  most  apt  to  lose  sight,  the  difference  between  words  and  things, 
has  been  most  strenuously  insisted  on  by  him  (cp.  Rep.  454  A ; 
Polit.  261  E;  Cratyl.  435,  436  if.),  although  he  has  not  always 
avoided  the  confusion  of  them  in  his  own  writings  (e.g.  Rep. 
463  E).  But  he  does  not  bind  up  truth  in  logical  formulae, — 
logic  is  still  veiled  in  metaphysics ;  and  the  science  which  he 
imagines  to  '  contemplate  all  truth  and  all  existence '  is  very 
unlike  the  doctrine  of  the  syllogism  which  Aristotle  claims  to 
have  discovered  (Soph.  Elenchi,  33.  18). 

Neither  must  we  forget  that  the  Republic  is  but  the  third  part 
of  a  still  larger  design  which  was  to  have  included  an  ideal  history 
of  Athens,  as  well  as  a  political  and  physical  philosophy.  The 
fragment  of  the  Critias  has  given  birth  to  a  world-famous  fiction, 
second  only  in  importance  to  the  tale  of  Troy  and  the  legend  of 
Arthur ;  and  is  said  as  a  fact  to  have  inspired  some  of  the  early 
navigators  of  the  sixteenth  century.  This  mythical  tale,  of 
which  the  subject  was  a  history  of  the  wars  of  the  Athenians 
against  the  island  of  Atlantis,  is  supposed  to  be  founded  upon 
an  unfinished  poem  of  Solon,  to  which  it  would  have  stood 
in  the  same  relation  as  the  writings  of  the  logographers  to  the 
poems  of  Homer.  It  would  have  told  of  a  struggle  for  Liberty 
(cp.  Tim.  25  C),  intended  to  represent  the  conflict  of  Persia  and 
Hellas.  We  may  judge  from  the  noble  commencement  of  the 
Timaeus,  from  the  fragment  of  the  Critias  itself,  and  from  the  third 
book  of  the  Laws,  in  what  manner  Plato  would  have  treated 
this  high  argument.  We  can  only  guess  why  the  great  design 
was  abandoned ;  perhaps  because  Plato  became  sensible  of  some 
incongruity  in  a  fictitious  history,  or  because  he  had  lost  his 
interest  in  it,  or  because  advancing  years  forbade  the  completion 
of  it ;  and  we  may  please  ourselves  with  the  fancy  that  had  this 
imaginary  narrative  ever  been  finished,  we  should  have  found 
Plato  himself  sympathising  with  the  struggle  for  Hellenic  in- 
dependence (cp.  Laws,  iii.  698  ff.),  singing  a  hymn  of  triumph 
over  Marathon  and  Salamis,  perhaps  making  the  reflection  of 
Herodotus  (v.  78)  where  he  contemplates  the  growth  of  the 
Athenian  empire — 'How  brave  a  thing  is  freedom  of  speech, 

The  greatness  of  Plato.  in 

which  has  made  the  Athenians  so  far  exceed  every  other  state  of  Republic. 
Hellas  in  greatness  !'  or,  more  probably,  attributing  the  victory  to 
the  ancient  good  order  of  Athens  and  to  the  favour  of  Apollo  and 
Athene  (cp.  Introd.  to  Critias). 

Again,  Plato  may  be  regarded  as  the  'captain'  (dpxwos)  or 
leader  of  a  goodly  band  of  followers ;  for  in  the  Republic  is  to  be 
found  the  original  of  Cicero's  De  Republica,  of  St.  Augustine's  City 
of  God,  of  the  Utopia  of  Sir  Thomas  More,  and  of  the  numerous 
other  imaginary  States  which  are  framed  upon  the  same  model. 
The  extent  to  which  Aristotle  or  the  Aristotelian  school  were 
indebted  to  him  in  the  Politics  has  been  little  recognised,  and 
the  recognition  is  the  more  necessary  because  it  is  not  made  by 
Aristotle  himself.  The  two  philosophers  had  more  in  common  than 
they  were  conscious  of;  and  probably  some  elements  of  Plato 
remain  still  undetected  in  Aristotle.  In  English  philosophy  too, 
many  affinities  may  be  traced,  not  only  in  the  works  of  the  Cam- 
bridge Platonists,  but  in  great  original  writers  like  Berkeley  or 
Coleridge,  to  Plato  and  his  ideas.  That  there  is  a  truth  higher  than 
experience,  of  which  the  mind  bears  witness  to  herself,  is  a  conviction 
which  in  our  own  generation  has  been  enthusiastically  asserted,  and 
is  perhaps  gaining  ground.  Of  the  Greek  authors  who  at  the 
Renaissance  brought  a  new  life  into  the  world  Plato  has  had  the 
greatest  influence.  The  Republic  of  Plato  is  also  the  first  treatise 
upon  education,  of  which  the  writings  of  Milton  and  Locke, 
Rousseau,  Jean  Paul,  and  Goethe  are  the  legitimate  descendants. 
Like  Dante  or  Bunyan,  he  has  a  revelation  of  another  life ;  like 
Bacon,  he  is  profoundly  impressed  with  the  unity  of  knowledge ; 
in  the  early  Church  he  exercised  a  real  influence  on  theology, 
and  at  the  Revival  of  Literature  on  politics.  Even  the  fragments 
of  his  words  when  '  repeated  at  second-hand '  (Symp.  215  D)  have 
in  all  ages  ravished  the  hearts  of  men,  who  have  seen  reflected 
in  them  their  own  higher  nature.  He  is  the  father  of  idealism  in 
philosophy,  in  politics,  in  literature.  And  many  of  the  latest 
conceptions  of  modern  thinkers  and  statesmen,  such  as  the  unity 
of  knowledge,  the  reign  of  law,  and  the  equality  of  the  sexes, 
have  been  anticipated  in  a  dream  by  him. 

The  argument  of  the  Republic  is  the  search  after  Justice,  the 
nature  of  which  is  first  hinted  at  by  Cephalus,  the  just  and  blame- 

iv  The  argument  of  the  Republic. 

Republic,  less  old  man — then  discussed  on  the  basis  of  proverbial  morality 
by  Socrates  and  Polemarchus — then  caricatured  by  Thrasymachus 
and  partially  explained  by  Socrates — reduced  to  an  abstraction  by 
Glaucon  and  Adeimantus,  and  having  become  invisible  in  the 
individual  reappears  at  length  in  the  ideal  State  which  is  con- 
structed by  Socrates.  The  first  care  of  the  rulers  is  to  be  educa- 
tion, of  which  an  outline  is  drawn  after  the  old  Hellenic  model, 
providing  only  for  an  improved  religion  and  morality,  and  more 
simplicity  in  music  and  gymnastic,  a  manlier  strain  of  poetry,  and 
greater  harmony  of  the  individual  and  the  State.  We  are  thus 
led  on  to  the  conception  of  a  higher  State,  in  which  '  no  man  calls 
anything  his  own,'  and  in  which  there  is  neither  'marrying  nor 
giving  in  marriage,'  and  'kings  are  philosophers'  and  'philoso- 
phers are  kings ; '  and  there  is  another  and  higher  education,  in- 
tellectual as  well  as  moral  and  religious,  of  science  as  well  as  of 
art,  and  not  of  youth  only  but  of  the  whole  of  life.  Such  a  State 
is  hardly  to  be  realized  in  this  world  and  quickly  degenerates. 
To  the  perfect  ideal  succeeds  the  government  of  the  soldier  and 
the  lover  of  honour,  this  again  declining  into  democracy,  and  de- 
mocracy into  tyranny,  in  an  imaginary  but  regular  order  having 
not  much  resemblance  to  the  actual  facts.  When  '  the  wheel  has 
come  full  circle'  we  do  not  begin  again  with  a  new  period  of 
human  life ;  but  we  have  passed  from  the  best  to  the  worst,  and 
there  we  end.  The  subject  is  then  changed  and  the  old  quarrel  of 
poetry  and  philosophy  which  had  been  more  lightly  treated  in 
the  earlier  books  of  the  Republic  is  now  resumed  and  fought  out 
to  a  conclusion.  Poetry  is  discovered  to  be  an  imitation  thrice 
removed  from  the  truth,  and  Homer,  as  well  as  the  dramatic 
poets,  having  been  condemned  as  an  imitator,  is  sent  into  banish- 
ment along  with  them.  And  the  idea  of  the  State  is  supplemented 
by  the  revelation  of  a  future  life. 

The  division  into  books,  like  all  similar  divisions  \  is  probably 
later  than  the  age  of  Plato.  The  natural  divisions  are  five  in 
number ;— (i)  Book  I  and  the  first  half  of  Book  II  down  to  p.  368, 
which  is  introductory ;  the  first  book  containing  a  refutation  of  the 
popular  and  sophistical  notions  of  justice,  and  concluding,  like 
some  of  the  earlier  Dialogues,  without  arriving  at  any  definite 
result.  To  this  is  appended  a  restatement  of  the  nature  of  justice 
1  Cp.  Sir  G.  C.  Lewis  in  the  Classical  Museum,  vol.  ii.  p.  i. 

The  divisions.  v 

according  to  common  opinion,  and  an  answer  is  demanded  to  the  Republic. 
question — What  is  justice,  stripped  of  appearances  ?  The  second 
division  (2)  includes  the  remainder  of  the  second  and  the  whole  of 
the  third  and  fourth  books,  which  are  mainly  occupied  with  the 
construction  of  the  first  State  and  the  first  education.  The  third 
division  (3)  consists  of  the  fifth,  sixth,  and  seventh  books,  in  which 
philosophy  rather  than  justice  is  the  subject  of  enquiry,  and  the 
second  State  is  constructed  on  principles  of  communism  and  ruled 
by  philosophers,  and  the  contemplation  of  the  idea  of  good  takes 
the  place  of  the  social  and  political  virtues.  In  the  eighth  and 
ninth  books  (4)  the  perversions  of  States  and  of  the  individuals  who 
correspond  to  them  are  reviewed  in  succession ;  and  the  nature  of 
pleasure  and  the  principle  of  tyranny  are  further  analysed  in  the 
individual  man.  The  tenth  book  (5)  is  the  conclusion  of  the 
whole,  in  which  the  relations  of  philosophy  to  poetry  are  finally 
determined,  and  the  happiness  of  the  citizens  in  this  life,  which  has 
now  been  assured,  is  crowned  by  the  vision  of  another. 

Or  a  more  general  division  into  two  parts  may  be  adopted  ;  the 
first  (Books  I-IV)  containing  the  description  of  a  State  framed 
generally  in  accordance  with  Hellenic  notions  of  religion  and 
morality,  while  in  the  second  (Books  V-X)  the  Hellenic  State  is 
transformed  into  an  ideal  kingdom  of  philosophy,  of  which  all 
other  governments  are  the  perversions.  These  two  points  of  view 
are  really  opposed,  and  the  opposition  is  only  veiled  by  the  genius 
of  Plato.  The  Republic,  like  the  Phaedrus  (see  Introduction  to 
Phaedrus),  is  an  imperfect  whole  ;  the  higher  light  of  philosophy 
breaks  through  the  regularity  of  the  Hellenic  temple,  which  at  last 
fades  away  into  the  heavens  (592  B).  Whether  this  imperfection  of 
structure  arises  from  an  enlargement  of  the  plan ;  or  from  the  im- 
perfect reconcilement  in  the  writer's  own  mind  of  the  struggling 
elements  of  thought  which  are  now  first  brought  together  by 
him ;  or,  perhaps,  from  the  composition  of  the  work  at  different 
times — are  questions,  like  the  similar  question  about  the  Iliad 
and  the  Odyssey,  which  are  worth  asking,  but  which  cannot  have 
a  distinct  answer.  In  the  age  of  Plato  there  was  no  regular  mode 
of  publication,  and  an  author  would  have  the  less  scruple  in 
altering  or  adding  to  a  work  which  was  known  only  to  a  few  of 
his  friends.  There  is  no  absurdity  in  supposing  that  he  may  have 
laid  his  labours  aside  for  a  time,  or  turned  from  one  work  to 

vi  The  second  title. 

Republic,  another ;  and  such  interruptions  would  be  more  likely  to  occur 
m  tne  case  °f  a  long  tnan  °f  a  short  writing.  In  all  attempts  to 
determine  the  chronological  order  of  the  Platonic  writings  on 
internal  evidence,  this  uncertainty  about  any  single  Dialogue  being 
composed  at  one  time  is  a  disturbing  element,  which  must  be 
admitted  to  affect  longer  works,  such  as  the  Republic  and  the 
Laws,  more  than  shorter  ones.  But,  on  the  other  hand,  the 
seeming  discrepancies  of  the  Republic  may  only  arise  out  of  the 
discordant  elements  which  the  philosopher  has  attempted  to  unite 
in  a  single  whole,  perhaps  without  being  himself  able  to  recognise 
the  inconsistency  which  is  obvious  to  us.  For  there  is  a  judgment 
of  after  ages  which  few  great  writers  have  ever  been  able  to 
anticipate  for  themselves.  They  do  not  perceive  the  want  of 
connexion  in  their  own  writings,  or  the  gaps  in  their  systems 
which  are  visible  enough  to  those  who  come  after  them.  In  the 
beginnings  of  literature  and  philosophy,  amid  the  first  efforts  of 
thought  and  language,  more  inconsistencies  occur  than  now,  when 
the  paths  of  speculation  are  well  worn  and  the  meaning  of  words 
precisely  defined.  For  consistency,  too,  is  the  growth  of  time ; 
and  some  of  the  greatest  creations  of  the  human  mind  have  been 
wanting  in  unity.  Tried  by  this  test,  several  of  the  Platonic 
Dialogues,  according  to  our  modern  ideas,  appear  to  be  defective, 
but  the  deficiency  is  no  proof  that  they  were  composed  at  different 
times  or  by  different  hands.  And  the  supposition  that  the  Re- 
public was  written  uninterruptedly  and  by  a  continuous  effort  is 
in  some  degree  confirmed  by  the  numerous  references  from  one 
part  of  the  work  to  another. 

The  second  title,  '  Concerning  Justice,'  is  not  the  one  by  which 
the  Republic  is  quoted,  either  by  Aristotle  or  generally  in  antiquity, 
and,  like  the  other  second  titles  of  the  Platonic  Dialogues,  may 
therefore  be  assumed  to  be  of  later  date.  Morgenstern  and  others 
have  asked  whether  the  definition  of  justice,  which  is  the  professed 
aim,  or  the  construction  of  the  State  is  the  principal  argument  of 
the  work.  The  answer  is,  that  the  two  blend  in  one,  and  are  two 
faces  of  the  same  truth ;  for  justice  is  the  order  of  the  State,  and 
the  State  is  the  visible  embodiment  of  justice  under  the  conditions 
of  human  society.  The  one  is  the  soul  and  the  other  is  the  body, 
and  the  Greek  ideal  of  the  State,  as  of  the  individual,  is  a  fair  mind 
in  a  fair  body.  In  Hegelian  phraseology  the  state  is  the  reality  of 

Is  there  one  argument  or  more  ?  vii 

which  justice  is  the  idea.  Or,  described  in  Christian  language,  the  Republic. 
kingdom  of  God  is  within,  and  yet  developes  into  a  Church  or  ex-  IN™°N.LC 
ternal  kingdom ;  '  the  house  not  made  with  hands,  eternal  in  the 
heavens,'  is  reduced  to  the  proportions  of  an  earthly  building.  Or, 
to  use  a  Platonic  image,  justice  and  the  State  are- the  warp  and  the 
woof  which  run  through  the  whole  texture.  And  when  the  con- 
stitution of  the  State  is  completed,  the  conception  of  justice  is  not 
dismissed,  but  reappears  under  the  same  or  different  names 
throughout  the  work,  both  as  the  inner  law  of  the  individual  soul, 
and  finally  as  the  principle  of  rewards  and  punishments  in  another 
life.  The  virtues  are  based  on  justice,  of  which  common  honesty 
in  buying  and  selling  is  the  shadow,  and  justice  is  based  on  the 
idea  of  good,  which  is  the  harmony  of  the  world,  and  is  reflected 
both  in  the  institutions  of  states  and  in  motions  of  the  heavenly 
bodies  (cp.  Tim.  47).  The  Timaeus,  which  takes  up  the  political 
rather  than  the  ethical  side  of  the  Republic,  and  is  chiefly  occu- 
pied with  hypotheses  concerning  the  outward  world,  yet  contains 
many  indications  that  the  same  law  is  supposed  to  reign  over  the 
State,  over  nature,  and  over  man. 

Too  much,  however,  has  been  made  of  this  question  both  in 
ancient  and  modern  times.  There  is  a  stage  of  criticism  in  which 
all  works,  whether  of  nature  or  of  art,  are  referred  to  design. 
Now  in  ancient  writings,  and  indeed  in  literature  generally,  there 
remains  often  a  large  element  which  was  not  comprehended  in  the 
original  design.  For  the  plan  grows  under  the  author's  hand ; 
new  thoughts  occur  to  him  in  the  act  of  writing ;  he  has  not 
worked  out  the  argument  to  the  end  before  he  begins.  The  reader 
who  seeks  to  find  some  one  idea  under  which  the  whole  may  be 
conceived,  must  necessarily  seize  on  the  vaguest  and  most  general. 
Thus  Stallbaum,  who  is  dissatisfied  with  the  ordinary  explanations 
of  the  argument  of  the  Republic,  imagines  himself  to  have  found 
the  true  argument '  in  the  representation  of  human  life  in  a  State 
perfected  by  justice,  and  governed  according  to  the  idea  of  good.' 
There  may  be  some  use  in  such  general  descriptions,  but  they  can 
hardly  be  said  to  express  the  design  of  the  writer.  The  truth  is, 
that  we  may  as  well  speak  of  many  designs  as  of  one ;  nor  need 
anything  be  excluded  from  the  plan  of  a  great  work  to  which  the 
mind  is  naturally  led  by  the  association  of  ideas,  and  which  does 
not  interfere  with  the  general  purpose.  What  kind  or  degree  of 

viii  The  leading  thoughts. 

Republic,  unity  is  to  be  sought  after  in  a  building,  in  the  plastic  arts,  in 
N™ON!UC"  poetry,  in  prose,  is  a  problem  which  has  to  be  determined  rela- 
tively \p  the  subject-matter.  To  Plato  himself,  the  enquiry  '  what 
was  the  intention  of  the  writer,'  or  '  what  was  the  principal  argu- 
ment of  the  Republic '  would  have  been  hardly  intelligible,  and 
therefore  had  better  be  at  once  dismissed  (cp.  the  Introduction  to 
the  Phaedrus,  vol.  i.). 

Is  not  the  Republic  the  vehicle  of  three  or  four  great  truths  which, 
to  Plato's  own  mind,  are  most  naturally  represented  in  the  form  of 
the  State  ?  Just  as  in  the  Jewish  prophets  the  reign  of  Messiah,  or 
*  the  day  of  the  Lord,'  or  the  suffering  Servant  or  people  of  God,  or 
the  '  Sun  of  righteousness  with  healing  in  his  wings '  only  convey, 
to  us  at  least,  their  great  spiritual  ideals,  so  through  the  Greek  State 
Plato  reveals  to  us  his  own  thoughts  about  divine  perfection,  which 
is  the  idea  of  good — like  the  sun  in  the  visible  world ; — about  human 
perfection,  which  is  justice — about  education  beginning  in  youth 
and  continuing  in  later  years — about  poets  and  sophists  and  tyrants 
who  are  the  false  teachers  and  evil  rulers  of  mankind — about  *  the 
world  '  which  is  the  embodiment  of  them — about  a  kingdom  which 
exists  nowhere  upon  earth  but  is  laid  up  in  heaven  to  be  the 
pattern  and  rule  of  human  life.  No  such  inspired  creation  is  at 
unity  with  itself,  any  more  than  the  clouds  of  heaven  when  the  sun 
pierces  through  them.  Every  shade  of  light  and  dark,  of  truth,  and 
of  fiction  which  is  the  veil  of  truth,  is  allowable  in  a  work  of  philo- 
sophical imagination.  It  is  not  all  on  the  same  plane ;  it  easily 
passes  from  ideas  to  myths  and  fancies,  from  facts  to  figures  of 
speech.  It  is  not  prose  but  poetry,  at  least  a  great  part  of  it,  and 
ought  not  to  be  judged  by  the  rules  of  logic  or  the  probabilities 
of  history.  The  writer  is  not  fashioning  his  ideas  into  an  artistic 
whole  ;  they  take  possession  of  him  and  are  too  much  for  him. 
We  have  no  need  therefore  to  discuss  whether  a  State  such  as 
Plato  has  conceived  is  practicable  or  not,  or  whether  the  outward 
form  or  the  inward  life  came  first  into  the  mind  of  the  writer.  For 
the  practicability  of  his  ideas  has  nothing  to  do  with  their  truth 
(v.  472  D) ;  and  the  highest  thoughts  to  which  he  attains  may  be 
truly  said  to  bear  the  greatest  '  marks  of  design  '—justice  more 
than  the  external  frame-work  of  the  State,  the  idea  of  good  more 
than  justice.  The  great  science  of  dialectic  or  the  organisation  of 
ideas  has  no  real  content ;  but  is  only  a  type  of  the  method  or 

The  imaginary  date.  ix 

spirit  in  which  the  higher  knowledge   is  to  be  pursued  by  the   Republic. 
spectator  of  all  time  and  all  existence.     It  is  in  the  fifth,  sixth,  and    IN™°£UC' 
seventh  books  that  Plato  reaches  the  *  summit  of  speculation,'  and 
these,  although  they  fail  to  satisfy  the  requirements  of  a  modern 
thinker,  may  therefore  be  regarded  as  the  most  important,  as  they 
are  also  the  most  original,  portions  of  the  work. 

It  is  not  necessary  to  discuss  at  length  a  minor  question  which 
has  been  raised  by  Boeckh,  respecting  the  imaginary  date  at  which 
the  conversation  was  held  (the  year  411  B.C.  which  is  proposed  by 
him  will  do  as  well  as  any  other) ;  for  a  writer  of  fiction,  and 
especially  a  writer  who,  like  Plato,  is  notoriously  careless  of 
chronology  (cp.  Rep.  i.  336,  Symp.  193  A,  etc.),  only  aims  at  general 
probability.  Whether  all  the  persons  mentioned  in  the  Republic 
could  ever  have  met  at  any  one  time  is  not  a  difficulty  which 
would  have  occurred  to  an  Athenian  reading  the  work  forty  years 
later,  or  to  Plato  himself  at  the  time  of  writing  (any  more  than  to 
Shakespeare  respecting  one  of  his  own  dramas) ;  and  need  not 
greatly  trouhjle  us  now.  Yet  this  may  be  a  question  having  no 
answer  *  which  is  still  worth  asking,5  because  the  investigation  shows 
that  we  cannot  argue  historically  from  the  dates  in  Plato ;  it  would  be 
useless  therefore  to  waste  time  in  inventing  far-fetched  reconcile- 
ments of  them  in  order  to  avoid  chronological  difficulties,  such,  for 
example,  as  the  conjecture  of  C.  F.  Hermann,  that  Glaucon  and 
Adeimantus  are  not  the  brothers  but  the  uncles  of  Plato  (cp.  Apol. 
34  A),  or  the  fancy  of  Stallbaum  that  Plato  intentionally  left  ana- 
chronisms indicating  the  dates  at  •  which  some  of  his  Dialogues 
were  written. 

The  principal  characters  in  the  Republic  are  Cephalus,  Pole- 
marchus,  Thrasymachus,  Socrates,  Glaucon,  and  Adeimantus. 
Cephalus  appears  in  the  introduction  only,  Polemarchus  drops  at 
the  end  of  the  first  argument,  and  Thrasymachus  is  reduced  to 
silence  at  the  close  of  the  first  book.  The  main  discussion  is 
carried  on  by  Socrates,  Glaucon,  and  Adeimantus.  Among  the 
company  are  Lysias  (the  orator)  and  Euthydemus,  the  sons  of 
Cephalus  and  brothers  of  Polemarchus,  an  unknown  Charmantides 
— these  are  mute  auditors ;  also  there  is  Cleitophon,  who  once 
interrupts  (340  A),  where,  as  in  the  Dialogue  which  bears  his 
name,  he  appears  as  the  friend  and  ally  of  Thrasymachus. 

K  The  characters  :  Cephalus  and  Polemarchus  : 

Republic.  Cephalus,  the  patriarch  of  the  house,  has  been  appropriately 
IN™ON  UC~  engaged  in  offering  a  sacrifice.  He  is  the  pattern  of  an  old  man 
who  has  almost  done  with  life,  and  is  at  peace  with  himself  and 
with  all  mankind.  He  feels  that  he  is  drawing  nearer  to  the 
world  below,  and  seems  to  linger  around  the  memory  of  the  past. 
He  is  eager  that  Socrates  should  come  to  visit  him,  fond  of  the 
poetry  of  the  last  generation,  happy  in  the  consciousness  of  a 
well-spent  life,  glad  at  having  escaped  from  the  tyranny  of  youth- 
ful lusts.  His  love  of  conversation,  his  affection,  his  indifference 
to  riches,  even  his  garrulity,  are  interesting  traits  of  character. 
He  is  not  one  of  those  who  have  nothing  to  say,  because  their 
whole  mind  has  been  absorbed  in  making  money.  Yet  he  acknow- 
ledges that  riches  have  the  advantage  of  placing  men  above  the 
temptation  to  dishonesty  or  falsehood.  The  respectful  attention 
shown  to  him  by  Socrates,  whose  love  of  conversation,  no  less 
than  the  mission  imposed  upon  him  by  the  Oracle,  leads  him  to 
ask  questions  of  all  men,  young  and  old  alike  (cp.,  i.  328  A),  should 
also  be  noted.  Who  better  suited  to  raise  the  question  of  justice 
than  Cephalus,  whose  life  might  seem  to  be  the  expression  of 
it  ?  The  moderation  with  which  old  age  is  pictured  by  Cephalus 
as  a  very  tolerable  portion  of  existence  is  characteristic,  not  only 
of  him,  but  of  Greek  feeling  generally,  and  contrasts  with  the 
exaggeration  of  Cicero  in  the  De  Senectute.  The  evening  of 
life  is  described  by  Plato  in  the  most  expressive  manner,  yet 
with  the  fewest  possible  touches.  As  Cicero  remarks  (Ep.  ad 
Attic,  iv.  16),  the  aged  Cephalus  would  have  been  out  of  place  in 
the  discussion  which  follows,  and  which  he  could  neither  have 
understood  nor  taken  part  in  without  a  violation  of  dramatic 
propriety  (cp.  Lysimachus  in  the  Laches,  89). 

His  'son  and  heir'  Polemarchus  has  the  frankness  and  im- 
petuousness  of  youth ;  he  is  for  detaining  Socrates  by  force  in  the 
opening  scene,  and  will  not  '  let  him  off'  (v.  449  B)  on  the  subject  of 
women  and  children.  Like  Cephalus,  he  is  limited  in  his  point  of 
view,  and  represents  the  proverbial  stage  of  morality  which  has 
rules  of  life  rather  than  principles  ;  and  he  quotes  Simonides  (cp. 
Aristoph.  Clouds,  1355  ff.)  as  his  father  had  quoted  Pindar.  But  after 
this  he  has  no  more  to  say;  the  answers  which  he  makes  are 
only  elicited  from  him  by  the  dialectic  of  Socrates.  He  has  not 
yet  experienced  the  influence  of  the  Sophists  like  Glaucon  and 

Thrasymachus :  xi 

Adeimantus,  nor  is  he  sensible  of  the  necessity  of  refuting  them  ;  he  Republic. 
belongs  to  the  pre-Socratic  or  pre-dialectical  age.  He  is  incapable 
of  arguing,  and  is  bewildered  by  Socrates  to  such  a  degree  that  he 
does  not  know  what  he  is  saying.  He  is  made  to  admit  that 
justice  is  a  thief,  and  that  the  virtues  follow  the  analogy  of  the  arts 
(i.  333  E).  From  his  brother  Lysias  (contra  Eratosth.  p.  121)  we 
learn  that  he  fell  a  victim  to  the  Thirty  Tyrants,  but  no  allusion  is 
here  made  to  his  fate,  nor  to  the  circumstance  that  Cephalus  and 
his  family  were  of  Syracusan  origin,  and  had  migrated  from 
Thurii  to  Athens. 

The  '  Chalcedonian  giant,'  Thrasymachus,  of  whom  we  have 
already  heard  in  the  Phaedrus  (267  D),  is  the  personification  of 
the  Sophists,  according  to  Plato's  conception  of  them,  in  some  of 
their  worst  characteristics.  He  is  vain  and  blustering,  refusing  to 
discourse  unless  he  is  paid,  fond  of  making  an  oration,  and  hoping 
thereby  to  escape  the  inevitable  Socrates;  but  a  mere  child  in 
argument,  and  unable  to  foresee  that  the  next  'move'  (to  use  a 
Platonic  expression)  will '  shut  him  up '  (vi.  487  B).  He  has  reached 
the  stage  of  framing  general  notions,  and  in  this  respect  is  in 
advance  of  Cephalus  and  Polemarchus.  But  he  is  incapable  of 
defending  them  in  a  discussion,  and  vainly  tries  to  cover  his  con- 
fusion with  banter  and  insolence.  Whether  such  doctrines  as  are 
attributed  to  him  by  Plato  were  really  held  either  by  him  or  by 
any  other  Sophist  is  uncertain ;  in  the  infancy  of  philosophy 
serious  errors  about  morality  might  easily  grow  up— they  are 
certainly  put  into  the  mouths  of  speakers  in  Thucydides ;  but  we 
are  concerned  at  present  with  Plato's  description  of  him,  and  not 
with  the  historical  reality.  The  inequality  of  the  contest  adds 
greatly  to  the  humour  of  the  scene.  The  pompous  and  empty 
Sophist  is  utterly  helpless  in  the  hands  of  the  great  master  of 
dialectic,  who  knows  how  to  touch  all  the  springs  of  vanity  and 
weakness  in  him.  He  is  greatly  irritated  by  the  irony  of  Socrates, 
but  his  noisy  and  imbecile  rage  only  lays  him  more  and  more 
open  to  the  thrusts  of  his  assailant.  His  determination  to  cram 
down  their  throats,  or  put '  bodily  into  their  souls '  his  own  words, 
elicits  a  cry  of  horror  from  Socrates.  The  state  of  his  temper 
is  quite  as  worthy  of  remark  as  the  process  of  the  argument. 
Nothing  is  more  amusing  than  his  complete  submission  when  he 
has  been  once  thoroughly  beaten.  At  first  he  seems  to  continue 

xii  Glaucon  and  Adeimantus. 

Republic,  the  discussion  with  reluctance,  but  soon  with  apparent  good-will, 
and  he  even  testifies  his  interest  at  a  later  stage  by  one  or  two 
occasional  remarks  (v.  450  A,  B).  When  attacked  by  Glaucon 
(vi.  498  C,  D)  he  is  humorously  protected  by  Socrates  *  as  one  who 
has  never  been  his  enemy  and  is  now  his  friend.'  From  Cicero 
and  Quintilian  and  from  Aristotle's  Rhetoric  (iii.  i.  7  ;  ii.  23.  29)  we 
learn  that  the  Sophist  whom  Plato  has  made  so  ridiculous  was  a 
man  of  note  whose  writings  were  preserved  in  later  ages.  The 
play  on  his  name  which  was  made  by  his  contemporary  Herodicus 
(Aris.  Rhet.  ii.  23,  29),  '  thou  wast  ever  bold  in  battle/  seems  to 
show  that  the  description  of  him  is  not  devoid  of  verisimilitude. 

When  Thrasymachus  has  been  silenced,  the  two  principal  re- 
spondents, Glaucon  and  Adeimantus,  appear  on  the  scene  :  here, 
as  in  Greek  tragedy  (cp.  Introd.  to  Phaedo),  three  actors  are  in- 
troduced. At  first  sight  the  two  sons  of  Ariston  may  seem  to 
wear  a  family  likeness,  like  the  two  friends  Simmias  and  Cebes  in 
the  Phaedo.  But  on  a  nearer  examination  of  them  the  similarity 
vanishes,  and  they  are  seen  to  be  distinct  characters.  Glaucon  is 
the  impetuous  youth  who  can  'just  never  have  enough  of  fechting' 
(cp.  the  character  of  him  in  Xen.  Mem.  iii.  6) ;  the  man  of  pleasure 
who  is  acquainted  with  the  mysteries  of  love  (v.  474  D) ;  the 
'juvenis  qui  gaudet  canibus,'  and  who  improves  the  breed  of 
animals  (v.  459  A) ;  the  lover  of  art  and  music  (iii.  398  D,  E)  who 
has  all  the  experiences  of  youthful  life.  He  is  full  of  quickness 
and  penetration,  piercing  easily  below  the  clumsy  platitudes  of 
Thrasymachus  to  the  real  difficulty;  he  turns  out  to  the  light  the 
seamy  side  of  human  life,  and  yet  does  not  lose  faith  in  the  just 
and  true.  It  is  Glaucon  who  seizes  what  may  be  termed  the 
ludicrous  relation  of  the  philosopher  to  the  world,  to  whom  a  state 
of  simplicity  is  '  a  city  of  pigs,'  who  is  always  prepared  with  a  jest 
(iii.  398  C,  407  A ;  v.  450,  451,  468  C  ;  vi.  509  C  ;  ix.  586)  when  the 
argument  offers  him  an  opportunity,  and  who  is  ever  ready  to 
second  the  humour  of  Socrates  and  to  appreciate  the  ridiculous, 
whether  in  the  connoisseurs  of  music  (vii.  531  A),  or  in  the  lovers 
of  theatricals  (v.  475  D),  or  in  the  fantastic  behaviour  of  the  citizens 
of  democracy  (viii.  557  foil.).  His  weaknesses  are  several  times 
alluded  to  by  Socrates  (iii.  402  E ;  v.  474  D,  475  E),  who,  however, 
will  not  allow  him  to  be  attacked  by  his  brother  Adeimantus 
(viii.  548  D,  E).  He  is  a  soldier,  and,  like  Adeimantus,  has  been 

The  difference  between  them.  xiii 

distinguished  at  the  battle  of  Megara  (368  A,  anno  456  ?).  .  .  The  Republic. 
character  of  Adeimantus  is  deeper  and  graver,  and  the  profounder 
objections  are  commonly  put  into  his  mouth.  Glaucon  is  more 
demonstrative,  and  generally  opens  the  game ;  Adeimantus  pur- 
sues the  argument  further.  Glaucon  has  more  of  the  liveliness 
and  quick  sympathy  of  youth ;  Adeimantus  has  the  maturer  judg- 
ment of  a  grown-up  man  of  the  world.  In  the  second  book,  when 
Glaucon  insists  that  justice  and  injustice  shall  be  considered  with- 
out regard  to  their  consequences,  Adeimantus  remarks  that  they 
are  regarded  by  mankind  in  general  only  for  the  sake  of  their 
consequences  ;  and  in  a  similar  vein  of  reflection  he  urges  at  the 
beginning  of  the  fourth  book  that  Socrates  fails  in  making  his 
citizens  happy,  and  is  answered  that  happiness  is  not  the  first  but 
the  second  thing,  not  the  direct  aim  but  the  indirect  consequence 
of  the  good  government  of  a  State.  In  the  discussion  about  re- 
ligion and  mythology,  Adeimantus  is  the  respondent  (iii.  376-398), 
but  at  p.  398  C,  Glaucon  breaks  in  with  a  slight  jest,  and  carries  on 
the  conversation  in  a  lighter  tone  about  music  and  gymnastic  to 
the  end  of  the  book.  It  is  Adeimantus  again  who  volunteers  the 
criticism  of  common  sense  on  the  Socratic  method  of  argument 
(vi.  487  B),  and  who  refuses  to  let  Socrates  pass  lightly  over  the  ques- 
tion of  women  and  children  (v.  449).  It  is  Adeimantus  who  is  the  re- 
spondent in  the  more  argumentative,  as  Glaucon  in  the  lighter  and 
more  imaginative  portions  of  the  Dialogue.  For  example,  through- 
out the  greater  part  of  the  sixth  book,  the  causes  of  the  corruption 
of  philosophy  and  the  conception  of  the  idea  of  good  are  discussed 
with  Adeimantus.  At  p.  506  C,  Glaucon  resumes  his  place  of 
principal  respondent ;  but  he  has  a  difficulty  in  apprehending  the 
higher  education  of  Socrates,  and  makes  some  false  hits  in  the 
course  of  the  discussion  (526  D,  527  D).  Once  more  Adeimantus 
returns  (viii.  548)  with  the  allusion  to  his  brother  Glaucon  whom  he 
compares  to  the  contentious  State ;  in  the  next  book  (ix.  576)  he  is 
again  superseded,  and  Glaucon  continues  to  the  end  (x.  621  B). 

Thus  in  a  succession  of  characters  Plato  represents  the  succes- 
sive stages  of  morality,  beginning  with  the  Athenian  gentleman  of 
the  olden  time,  who  is  followed  by  the  practical  man  of  that  day 
regulating  his  life  by  proverbs  and  saws;  to  him  succeeds  the 
wild  generalization  of  the  Sophists,  and  lastly  come  the  young 
disciples  of  the  great  teacher,  who  know  the  sophistical  arguments 

xiv  The  real  and  the  Platonic  Socrates. 

Republic,  but  will  not  be  convinced  by  them,  and  desire  to  go  deeper  into 
~  the  nature  of  things.  These  too,  like  Cephalus,  Polemarchus, 
Thrasymachus,  are  clearly  distinguished  from  one  another. 
Neither  in  the  Republic,  nor  in  any  other  Dialogue  of  Plato,  is 
a  single  character  repeated. 

The  delineation  of  Socrates  in  the  Republic  is  not  wholly  con- 
sistent. In  the  first  book  we  have  more  of  the  real  Socrates,  such 
as  he  is  depicted  in  the  Memorabilia  of  Xenophon,  in  the  earliest 
Dialogues  of  Plato,  and  in  the  Apology.  He  is  ironical,  provoking, 
questioning,  the  old  enemy  of  the  Sophists,  ready  to  put  on  the 
mask  of  Silenus  as  well  as  to  argue  seriously.  But  in  the  sixth 
book  his  enmity  towards  the  Sophists  abates ;  he  acknowledges 
that  they  are  the  representatives  rather  than  the  corrupters  of  the 
world  (vi.  492  A).  He  also  becomes  more  dogmatic  and  construc- 
tive, passing  beyond  the  range  either  of  the  political  or  the  specu- 
lative ideas  of  the  real  Socrates.  In  one  passage  (vi.  506  C)  Plato 
himself  seems  to  intimate  that  the  time  had  now  come  for  Socrates, 
who  had  passed  his  whole  life  in  philosophy,  to  give  his  own 
opinion  and  not  to  be  always  repeating  the  notions  of  other  men. 
There  is  no  evidence  that  either  the  idea  of  good  or  the  conception 
of  a  perfect  state  were  comprehended  in  the  Socratic  teaching, 
though  he  certainly  dwelt  on  the  nature  of  the  universal  and  of 
final  causes  (cp.  Xen.  Mem.  i.  4 ;  Phaedo  97) ;  and  a  deep  thinker 
like  him,  in  his  thirty  or  forty  years  of  public  teaching,  could 
hardly  have  failed  to  touch  on  the  nature  of  family  relations,  for 
which  there  is  also  some  positive  evidence  in  the  Memorabilia 
(Mem.  i.  2,  51  foil.).  The  Socratic  method  is  nominally  retained ; 
and  every  inference  is  either  put  into  the  mouth  of  the  respondent 
or  represented  as  the  common  discovery  of  him  and  Socrates. 
But  any  one  can  see  that  this  is  a  mere  form,  of  which  the  affec- 
tation grows  wearisome  as  the  work  advances.  The  method  of 
enquiry  has  passed  into  a  method  of  teaching  in  which  by  the  help 
of  interlocutors  the  same  thesis  is  looked  at  from  various  points  of 
view.  The  nature  of  the  process  is  truly  characterized  by  Glaucon, 
when  he  describes  himself  as  a  companion  who  is  not  good  for 
much  in  an  investigation,  but  can  see  what  he  is  shown  (iv.  432  C), 
and  may,  perhaps,  give  the  answer  to  a  question  more  fluently 
than  another  (v.  474  A  ;  cp.  389  A). 

Neither  can  we  be  absolutely  certain  that   Socrates   himself 

Socrates.  xv 

taught  the  immortality  of  the  soul,  which  is  unknown  to  his  disciple  Republic. 
Glaucon  in  the  Republic  (x.  608  D  ;  cp.  vi.  498  D,  E  ;  Apol.  40, 41) ;  IN™O°£UC- 
nor  is  there  any  reason  to  suppose  that  he  used  myths  or  reve- 
lations of  another  world  as  a  vehicle  of  instruction,  or  that  he 
would  have  banished  poetry  or  have  denounced  the  Greek 
mythology.  His  favourite  oath  is  retained,  and  a  slight  mention  is 
made  of  the  daemonium,  or  internal  sign,  which  is  alluded  to  by 
Socrates  as  a  phenomenon  peculiar  to  himself  (vi.  496  C).  A  real 
element  of  Socratic  teaching,  which  is  more  prominent  in  the 
Republic  than  in  any  of  the  other  Dialogues  of  Plato,  is  the  use  of 
example  and  illustration  (ra  $opriKa  avrcS  irpoo-fyepovTfs,  iv.  442  E) : 
*  Let  us  apply  the  test  of  common  instances.'  '  You,'  says  Adei- 
mantus,  ironically,  in  the  sixth  book,  'are  so  unaccustomed  to 
speak  in  images.'  And  this  use  of  examples  or  images,  though 
truly  Socratic  in  origin,  is  enlarged  by  the  genius  of  Plato  into  the 
form  of  an  allegory  or  parable,  which  embodies  in  the  concrete 
what  has  been  already  described,  or  is  about  to  be  described,  in 
the  abstract.  Thus  the  figure  of  the  cave  in  Book  VII  is  a  re- 
capitulation of  the  divisions  of  knowledge  in  Book  VI.  The 
composite  animal  in  Book  IX  is  an  allegory  of  the  parts  of  the 
soul.  The  noble  captain  and  the  ship  and  the  true  pilot  in  Book  VI 
are  a  figure  of  the  relation  of  the  people  to  the  philosophers  in  the 
State  which  has  been  described.  Other  figures,  such  as  the  dog 
(ii.  375  A,  D  ;  iii.  404  A,  416  A ;  v.  451  D),  or  the  marriage  of  the 
portionless  maiden  (vi.  495,  496),  or  the  drones  and  wasps  in  the 
eighth  and  ninth  books,  also  form  links  of  connexion  in  long 
passages,  or  are  used  to  recall  previous  discussions. 

Plato  is  most  true  to  the  character  of  his  master  when  he 
describes  him  as  '  not  of  this  world.'  And  with  this  representation 
of  him  the  ideal  state  and  the  other  paradoxes  of  the  Republic  are 
quite  in  accordance,  though  they  cannot  be  shown  to  have  been 
speculations  of  Socrates.  To  him,  as  to  other  great  teachers  both 
philosophical  and  religious,  when  they  looked  upward,  the  world 
seemed  to  be  the  embodiment  of  error  and  evil.  The  common  sense 
of  mankind  has  revolted  against  this  view,  or  has  only  partially  ad- 
mitted it.  And  even  in  Socrates  himself  the  sterner  judgement 
of  the  multitude  at  times  passes  into  a  sort  of  ironical  pity  or  love. 
Men  in  general  are  incapable  of  philosophy,  and  are  therefore  at 
enmity  with  the  philosopher ;  but  their  misunderstanding  of  him 

xvi  Analysis  327. 

Republic,  is  unavoidable  (vi.  494  foil. ;  ix.  589  D)  :  for  they  have  never  seen 
lNr1oN.UC"  mm  as  ne  truly  i§  m  ms  own  image;  they  are  only  acquainted 
with  artificial  systems  possessing  no  native  force  of  truth — words 
which  admit  of  many  applications.  Their  leaders  have  nothing  to 
measure  with,  and  are  therefore  ignorant  of  their  own  stature. 
But  they  are  to  be  pitied  or  laughed  at,  not  to  be  quarrelled  with  ; 
they  mean  well  with  their  nostrums,  if  they  could  only  learn  that 
they  are  cutting  off  a  Hydra's  head  (iv.  426  D,  E).  This  modera- 
tion towards  those  who  are  in  error  is  one  of  the  most  charac- 
teristic features  of  Socrates  in  the  Republic  (vi.  499-502).  In  all 
the  different  representations  of  Socrates,  whether  of  Xenophon  or 
Plato,  and  amid  the  differences  of  the  earlier  or  later  Dialogues, 
he  always  retains  the  character  of  the  unwearied  and  disinterested 
seeker  after  truth,  without  which  he  would  have  ceased  to  be 

Leaving  the  characters  we  may  now  analyse  the  contents  of  the 
Republic,  and  then  proceed  to  consider  (i)  The  .general  aspects  of 
this  Hellenic  ideal  of  the  State,  (2)  The  modern  lights  in  which  the 
thoughts  of  Plato  may  be  read. 

ANALYSIS.  BOOK  I.  The  Republic  opens  with  a  truly  Greek  scene— a 
festival  in  honour  of  the  goddess  Bendis  which  is  held  in  the 
Piraeus  ;  to  this  is  added  the  promise  of  an  equestrian  torch-race 
in  the  evening.  The  whole  work  is  supposed  to  be  recited  by 
Socrates  on  the  day  after  the  festival  to  a  small  party,  consisting  of 
Critias,  Timaeus,  Hermocrates,  and  another ;  this  we  learn  from 
the  first  words  of  the  Timaeus. 

When  the  rhetorical  advantage  of  reciting  the  Dialogue  has  been 
gained,  the  attention  is  not  distracted  by  any  reference  to  the  au- 
dience ;  nor  is  the  reader  further  reminded  of  the  extraordinary 
length  of  the  narrative.  Of  the  numerous  company,  three  only 
take  any  serious  part  in  the  discussion;  nor  are  we  informed 
whether  in  the  evening  they  went  to  the  torch-race,  or  talked,  as 
in  the  Symposium,  through  the  night.  The  manner  in  which  the 
conversation  has  arisen  is  described  as  follows  :-  Socrates  and  his  Steph. 
companion  Glaucon  are  about  to  leave  the  festival  when  they  are  3*7 
detained  by  a  message  from  Polemarchus,  who  speedily  appears 
accompanied  by  Adeimantus,  the  brother  of  Glaucon,  and  with 
playful  violence  compels  them  to  remain,  promising  them  not  only 

Analysis  328-331.  xvii 

328  the  torch-race,  but  the  pleasure  of  conversation  with  the  young,    Republic 

which  to  Socrates  is  a  far  greater  attraction.     They  return  to  the 


house  of  Cephalus,  Polemarchus'  father,  now  in  extreme  old  age, 
who  is  found  sitting  upon  a  cushioned  seat  crowned  for  a  sacrifice. 
'  You"  should  come  to  me  oftener,  Socrates,  for  I  am  too  old  to  go 
to  you  ;  and  at  my  time  of  life,  having  lost  other  pleasures,  I  care 
the  more  for  conversation.'  Socrates  asks  him  what  he  thinks  of 

329  age,  to  which  the  old  man  replies,  that  the  sorrows  and  discontents 
of  age  are  to  be  attributed  to  the  tempers  of  men,  and  that  age  is  a 
time  of  peace  in  which  the  tyranny  of  the  passions  is  no  longer 
felt.    Yes,  replies  Socrates,  but  the  world  will  say,  Cephalus,  that 
you  are  happy  in  old  age  because  you  are  rich.    'And  there  is 
something  in  what  they  say,  Socrates,  but  not  so  much  as  they 

330  imagine — as  Themistocles  replied  to  the  Seriphian,  "  Neither  you, 
if  you  had  been  an  Athenian,  nor  I,  if  I  had  been  a  Seriphian, 
would  ever  have  been  famous,"  I  might  in  like  manner  reply  to 
you,  Neither  a  good  poor  man  can  be  happy  in  age,  nor  yet  a  bad 
rich  man.'    Socrates  remarks  that  Cephalus  appears  not  to  care 
about  riches,  a  quality  which  he  ascribes  to  his  having  inherited, 
not  acquired  them,  and  would  like  to  know  what  he  considers  to 
be  the  chief  advantage  of  them.    Cephalus  answers  that  when 
you  are  old  the  belief  in  the  world  below  grows  upon  you,  and 

331  then  to  have  done  justice  and  never  to  have  been  compelled  to 
do  injustice  through  poverty,  and  never  to  have  deceived  any 
one,  are  felt  to    be   unspeakable  blessings.      Socrates,  who  is 
evidently  preparing  for  an   argument,  next  asks,  What  is  the 
meaning  of  the  word  justice  ?    To  tell  the  truth  and  pay  your 
debts?     No  more  than  this?     Or  must  we  admit  exceptions? 
Ought  I,  for  example,  to  put  back  into  the  hands  of  my  friend, 
who  has  gone  mad,  the  sword  which  I  borrowed  of  him  when  he 
was  in  his  right  mind  ?    '  There  must  be  exceptions.'    '  And  yet/ 
says  Polemarchus,  '  the  definition  which  has  been  given  has  the 
authority  of  Simonides.'    Here  Cephalus  retires  to  look  after  the 
sacrifices,  and  bequeaths,  as  Socrates  facetiously  remarks,  the 
possession  of  the  argument  to  his  heir,  Polemarchus 

The  description  of  old  age  is  finished,  and  Plato,  as  his  manner    INTRODUC- 
is,  has  touched  the  key-note  of  the  whole  work  in  asking  for  the 
definition  of  justice,  first  suggesting  the  question  which  Glaucon 
afterwards  pursues  respecting  external  goods,  and  preparing  for 


xviii  Analysis  332-335. 

Republic   the  concluding  mythus  of  the  world  below  in  the  slight  allusion  of 
Cephalus.    The  portrait  of  the  just  man  is  a  natural  frontispiece  or 

introduction  to  the  long  discourse  which  follows,  and  may  perhaps 
imply  that  in  all  our  perplexity  about  the  nature  of  justice,  there 
is  no  difficulty  in  discerning  *  who  is  a  just  man.'    The  first  ex- 
planation has  been  supported  by  a  saying  of  Simonides  ;  and  now 
Socrates  has  a  mind  to  show  that  the  resolution  of  justice  into  two 
unconnected  precepts,  which  have  no  common  principle,  fails  to 
satisfy  the  demands  of  dialectic. 
ANALYSIS.       .....  He  proceeds  :  What  did  Simonides  mean  by  this  saying  of  332 

his  ?  Did  he  mean  that  I  was  to  give  back  arms  to  a  madman  ?  *  No, 
not  in  that  case,  not  if  the  parties  are  friends,  and  evil  would  result. 
He  meant  that  you  were  to  do  what  was  .proper,  good  to  friends 
and  harm  to  enemies.'  Every  act  does  something  to  somebody  ; 
and  following  this  analogy,  Socrates  asks,  What  is  this  due  and 
proper  thing  which  justice  does,  and  to  whom  ?  He  is  answered 
that  justice  does  good  to  friends  and  harm  to  enemies.  But  in 
what  way  good  or  harm  ?  '  In  making  alliances  with  the  one,  and 
going  to  war  with  the  other.'  Then  in  time  of  peace  what  is  the 
good  of  justice  ?  The  answer  is  that  justice  is  of  use  in  contracts,  333 
and  contracts  are  money  partnerships.  Yes  ;  but  how  in  such 
partnerships  is  the  just  man  of  more  use  than  any  other  man  ? 
'  When  you  want  to  have  money  safely  kept  and  not  used.'  Then 
justice  will  be  useful  when  money  is  useless.  And  there  is  another 
difficulty  :  justice,  like  the  art  of  war  or  any  other  art,  must  be  of 
opposites,  good  at  attack  as  well  as  at  defence,  at  stealing  as  well  334 
as  at  guarding.  But  then  justice  is  a  thief,  though  a  hero  notwith- 
standing, like  Autolycus,  the  Homeric  hero,  who  was  '  excellent 
above  all  men  in  theft  and  perjury  '  —  to  such  a  pass  have  you  and 
Homer  and  Simonides  brought  us  ;  though  I  do  not  forget  that  the 
thieving  must  be  for  the  good  of  friends  and  the  harm  of  enemies. 
And  still  there  arises  another  question  :  Are  friends  to  be  in- 
terpreted as  real  or  seeming  ;  enemies  as  real  or  seeming  ?  And  335 
are  our  friends  to  be  only  the  good,  and  our  enemies  to  be  the 
evil  ?  The  answer  is,  that  we  must  do  good  to  our  seeming  and 
real  good  friends,  and  evil  to  our  seeming  and  real  evil  enemies  — 
good  to  the  good,  evil  to  the  evil.  But  ought  we  to  render  evil  for 
evil  at  all,  when  to  do  so  will  only  make  men  more  evil  ?  Can 
justice  produce  injustice  any  more  than  the  art  of  horsemanship 

The  early  stages  of  morality.  xix 

can  make  bad  horsemen,  or  heat  produce  cold  ?    The  final  con-    Republic 



elusion  is,  that  no  sage  or  poet  ever  said  that  the  just  return  evil          ' 

for  evil ;  this  was  a  maxim  of  some  rich  and  mighty  man,  Peri- 
336  ander,  Perdiccas,  or  Ismenias  the  Theban  (about  B.C.  398-381) 

Thus  the  first  stage  of  aphoristic  or  unconscious  morality  is 
shown  to  be  inadequate  to  the  wants  of  the  age ;  the  authority 
of  the  poets  is  set  aside,  and  through  the  winding  mazes  of 
dialectic  we  make  an  approach  to  the  Christian  precept  of  for- 
giveness of  injuries.  Similar  words  are  applied  by  the  Persian 
mystic  poet  to  the  Divine  being  when  the  questioning  spirit  is 
stirred  within  him : — '  If  because  I  do  evil,  Thou  punishest  me 
by  evil,  what  is  the  difference  between  Thee  and  me  ? '  In  this 
both  Plato  and  Kheyam  rise  above  the  level  of  many  Christian  (?) 
theologians.  The  first  definition  of  justice  easily  passes  into  the 
second ;  for  the  simple  words  'to  speak  the  truth  and  pay  your  debts1 
is  substituted  the  more  abstract '  to  do  good  to  your  friends  and 
harm  to  your  enemies.'  Either  of  these  explanations  gives  a  sufficient 
rule  of  life  for  plain  men,  but  they  both  fall  short  of  the  precision 
of  philosophy.  We  may  note  in  passing  the  antiquity  of  casuistry, 
which  not  only  arises  out  of  the  conflict  of  established  principles 
in  particular  cases,  but  also  out  of  the  effort  to  attain  them,  and 
is  prior  as  well  as  posterior  to  our  fundamental  notions  of 
morality.  The  '  interrogation  *  of  moral  ideas ;  the  appeal  to 
the  authority  of  Homer;  the  conclusion  that  the  maxim,  'Do 
good  to  your  friends  and  harm  to  your  enemies,'  being  erroneous, 
could  not  have  been  the  word  of  any  great  man  (cp.  ii.  380  A,  B), 
are  all  of  them  very  characteristic  of  the  Platonic  Socrates. 

.  .  .  Here  Thrasymachus,  who  has  made  several  attempts  to  ANALYSIS. 
interrupt,  but  has  hitherto  been  kept  in  order  by  the  company, 
takes  advantage  of  a  pause  and  rushes  into  the  arena,  beginning, 
like  a  savage  animal,  with  a  roar.  <  Socrates,'  he  says,  '  what 
folly  is  this? — Why  do  you  agree  to  be  vanquished  by  one 
another  in  a  pretended  argument  ? '  He  then  prohibits  all  the 

337  ordinary  definitions  of  justice ;    to  which  Socrates  replies  that 
he  cannot  tell  how  many  twelve  is,  if  he  is  forbidden  to  say 
2  x  6,  or  3  x  4,  or  6  x  2,  or  4  x  3.    At  first  Thrasymachus  is  reluctant 

338  to  argue  ;  but  at  length,  with  a  promise  of  payment  on  the  part  of 

C  2 

xx  Analysis  338-343. 

Republic  the  company  and  of  praise  from  Socrates,  he  is  induced  to  open 
ANALYSIS  the  §ame-  '  Listen,'  he  says ;  *  my  answer  is  that  might  is  right, 
justice  the  interest  of  the  stronger :  now  praise  me.3  Let  me 
understand  you  first.  Do  you  mean  that  because  Polydamas  the 
wrestler,  who  is  stronger  than  we  are,  finds  the  eating  of  beef 
for  his  interest,  the  eating  of  beef  is  also  for  our  interest,  who 
are  not  so  strong  ?  Thrasymachus  is  indignant  at  the  illustration, 
and  in  pompous  words,  apparently  intended  to  restore  dignity  to 
the  argument,  he  explains  his  meaning  to  be  that  the  rulers  make 
laws  for  their  own  interests.  But  suppose,  says  Socrates,  that  the  339 
ruler  or  stronger  makes  a  mistake — then  the  interest  of  the 
stronger  is  not  his  interest  Thrasymachus  is  saved  from  this 
speedy  downfall  by  his  disciple  Cleitophon,  who  introduces  the  340 
word  '  thinks ;  '—not  the  actual  interest  of  the  ruler,  but  what  he 
thinks  or  what  seems  to  be  his  interest,  is  justice.  The  contra- 
diction is  escaped  by  the  unmeaning  evasion  :  for  though  his  real 
and  apparent  interests  may  differ,  what  the  ruler  thinks  to  be  his 
interest  will  always  remain  what  he  thinks  to  be  his  interest. 

Of  course  this  was  not  the  original  assertion,  nor  is  the  new 
interpretation  accepted  by  Thrasymachus  himself.  But  Socrates 
is  not  disposed  to  quarrel  about  words,  if,  as  he  significantly 
insinuates,  his  adversary  has  changed  his  mind.  In  what  follows 
Thrasymachus  does  in  fact  withdraw  his  admission  that  the  ruler 
may  make  a  mistake,  for  he  affirms  that  the  ruler  as  a  ruler  is 
infallible.  Socrates  is  quite  ready  to  accept  the  new  position,  341 
which  he  equally  turns  against  Thrasymachus  by  the  help  of 
the  analogy  of  the  arts.  Every  art  or  science  has  an  interest,  but  342 
this  interest  is  to  be  distinguished  from  the  accidental  interest 
of  the  artist,  and  is  only  concerned  with  the  good  of  the  things  or 
persons  which  come  under  the  art.  And  justice  has  an  interest 
which  is  the  interest  not  of  the  ruler  or  judge,  but  of  those 
who  come  under  his  sway. 

Thrasymachus  is  on  the  brink  of  the  inevitable  conclusion, 
when  he  makes  a  bold  diversion.  'Tell  me,  Socrates,'  he  says,  343 
'  have  you  a  nurse  ? '  What  a  question  !  Why  do  you  ask  ? 
'  Because,  if  you  have,  she  neglects  you  and  lets  you  go  about 
drivelling,  and  has  not  even  taught  you  to  know  the  shepherd 
from  the'  sheep.  For  you  fancy  that  shepherds  and  rulers  never 
think  of  their  own  interest,  but  only  of  their  sheep  or  subjects, 

Analysis  343-347.  xxi 

whereas  the  truth  is  that  they  fatten  them  for  their  use,  sheep  and    Republic 
subjects  alike.     And  experience  proves  that  in  every  relation    ANAL' 
of  life  the  just  man   is   the   loser  and    the  unjust  the  gainer, 

344  especially  where  injustice  is  on  the  grand  scale,  which  is  quite 
another  thing  from  the  petty  rogueries  of  swindlers  and  burglars 
and  robbers  of  temples.    The  language  of  men  proves  this — our 
'gracious'  and  'blessed3  tyrant  and  the  like — all  which  tends  to 
show  (i)  that  justice  is  the  interest  of  the  stronger ;  and  (2)  that 
injustice  is  more  profitable  and  also  stronger  than  justice.' 

Thrasymachus,  who  is  better   at  a  speech    than  at  a  close 
argument,  having  deluged  the  company  with  words,  has  a  mind 

345  to  escape.    But  the  others  will  not  let  him  go,  and  Socrates  adds 
a  humble  but  earnest  request  that  he  will  not  desert  them  at 
such  a  crisis  of  their  fate.    '  And  what  can  I  do  more  for  you  ? ' 
he  says ;    '  would  you  have  me  put  the  words  bodily  into  your 
souls?'     God   forbid!    replies   Socrates;    but  we  want    you   to 
be  consistent  in  the  use  of  terms,  and  not  to  employ  *  physician ' 
in  an  exact  sense,  and  then  again  '  shepherd '  or  '  ruler '  in  an 
inexact, — if  the  words    are    strictly  taken,   the    ruler    and    the 
shepherd  look  only  to  the  good  of  their  people  or  flocks  and 
not  to  their  own :    whereas   you  insist  that  rulers    are    solely 
actuated  by  love  of  office.    '  No  doubt  about  it,'  replies  Thrasy- 

346  machus.    Then  why  are  they  paid  ?     Is  not  the  reason,  that  their 
interest  is  not  comprehended  in  their  art,  and  is  therefore  the 
concern  of  another  art,  the  art  of  pay,  which  is  common  to  the 
arts  in  general,  and  therefore  not  identical  with  any  one  of  them  ? 

347  Nor  would  any  man  be  a  ruler  unless  he  were  induced  by  the 
hope  of  reward  or  the  fear  of  punishment ; — the  reward  is  money 
or  honour,  the  punishment  is  the  necessity  of  being  ruled  by  a 
man  worse  than  himself.    And  if  a  State  [or  Church]  were  com- 
posed entirely  of  good  men,  they  would  be  affected  by  the  last 
motive  only;   and  there  would  be  as  much  'nolo  episcopari'  as 
there  is  at  present  of  the  opposite.  .  .  . 

The  satire  on  existing  governments  is  heightened  by  the  simple    INTRODUC- 
and  apparently  incidental  manner  in  which  the  last  remark  is 
introduced.    There  is  a  similar  irony  in  the  argument  that  the 
governors  of  mankind  do  not  like  being  in  office,  and  that  there- 
fore they  demand  pay. 

Enough  of  this  :  the  other  assertion  of  Thrasymachus  is  far   ANALYSIS. 

xxii  Analysis  348-352. 

Republic   more  important — that  the  unjust  life  is  more  gainful  than  the  just. 

ANA  YSIS  N°w>  as  y°u  an<*  Ii  Glaucon,  are  not  convinced  by  him,  we  must  348 
reply  to  him ;  but  if  we  try  to  compare  their  respective  gains 
we  shall  want  a  judge  to  decide  for  us ;  we  had  better  therefore 
proceed  by  making  mutual  admissions  of  the  truth  to  one  another. 
Thrasymachus  had  asserted  that  perfect  injustice  was  more 
gainful  than  perfect  justice,  and  after  a  little  hesitation  he  is 
induced  by  Socrates  to  admit  the  still  greater  paradox  that  in-  349 
justice  is  virtue  and  justice  vice.  Socrates  praises  his  frankness, 
and  assumes  the  attitude  of  one  whose  only  wish  is  to  understand 
the  meaning  of  his  opponents.  At  the  same  time  he  is  weaving 
a  net  in  which  Thrasymachus  is  finally  enclosed.  The  admission 
is  elicited  from  him  that  the  just  man  seeks  to  gain  an  advantage 
over  the  unjust  only,  but  not  over  the  just,  while  the  unjust 
would  gain  an  advantage  over  either.  Socrates,  in  order  to  test 
this  statement,  employs  once  more  the  favourite  analogy  of  the 
arts.  The  musician,  doctor,  skilled  artist  of  any  sort,  does  not  350 
seek  to  gain  more  than  the  skilled,  but  only  more  than  the 
unskilled  (that  is  to  say,  he  works  up  to  a  rule,  standard,  law, 
and  does  not  exceed  it),  whereas  the  unskilled  makes  random 
efforts  at  excess.  Thus  the  skilled  falls  on  the  side  of  the  good, 
and  the  unskilled  on  the  side  of  the  evil,  and  the  just  is  the  skilled, 
and  the  unjust  is  the  unskilled. 

There  was  great  difficulty  in  bringing  Thrasymachus  to  the 
point ;  the  day  was  hot  and  he  was  streaming  with  perspiration, 
and  for  the  first  time  in  his  life  he  was  seen  to  blush.  But  his 
other  thesis  that  injustice  was  stronger  than  justice  has  not  yet 
been  refuted,  and  Socrates  now  proceeds  to  the  consideration  of 
this,  which,  with  the  assistance  of  Thrasymachus,  he  hopes  to 
clear  up ;  the  latter  is  at  first  churlish,  but  in  the  judicious  hands 
of  Socrates  is  soon  restored  to  good-humour :  Is  there  not  honour  35 1 
among  thieves  ?  Is  not  the  strength  of  injustice  only  a  remnant 
of  justice  ?  Is  not  absolute  injustice  absolute  weakness  also  ? 
A  house  that  is  divided  against  itself  cannot  stand ;  two  men  who  35 * 
quarrel  detract  from  one  another's  strength,  and  he  who  is  at 
war  with  himself  is  -the  enemy  of  himself  and  the  gods.  Not 
wickedness  therefore,  but  semi-wickedness  flourishes  in  states, — 
a  remnant  of  good  is  needed  in  order  to  make  union  in  action 
possible, — there  is  no  kingdom  of  evil  in  this  world. 

The  three  arguments  respecting  justice,  xxiii 

Another  question  has  not  been  answered  :    Is  the  just  or  the    Republic 

353  unjust  the  happier  ?     To  this  we  reply,  that  every  art  has  an    ANALySIS 
end  and  an  excellence  or  virtue  by  which  the  end  is  accomplished. 

And  is  not  the  end  of  the  soul  happiness,  and  justice  the  ex- 
cellence of  the  soul  by  which  happiness  is  attained?     Justice 

354  and  happiness  being  thus  shown  to  be  inseparable,  the  question 
whether  the  just  or  the  unjust  is  the  happier  has  disappeared. 

Thrasymachus  replies :  '  Let  this  be  your  entertainment,. 
Socrates,  at  the  festival  of  Bendis.'  Yes ;  and  a  very  good 
entertainment  with  which  your  kindness  has  supplied  me,  now 
that  you  have  left  off  scolding.  And  yet  not  a  good  entertainment 
—but  that  was  my  own  fault,  for  I  tasted  of  too  many  things.  First 
of  all  the  nature  of  justice  was  the  subject  of  our  enquiry,  and 
then  whether  justice  is  virtue  and  wisdom,  or  evil  and  folly ;  and 
then  the  comparative  advantages  of  just  and  unjust :  and  the  sum 
of  all  is  that  I  know  not  what  justice  is  ;  how  then  shall  I  know 
whether  the  just  is  happy  or  not  ?  . .  . 

Thus  the  sophistical  fabric  has  been  demolished.,  chiefly  by  INTRODUC- 
appealing  to  the  analogy  of  the  arts.  'Justice  is  like  the  arts 
(i)  in  having  no  external  interest,  and  (2)  in  not  aiming  at  excess, 
and  (3)  justice  is  to  happiness  what  the  implement  of  the  work- 
man is  to  his  work.'  At  this  the  modern  reader  is  apt  to  stumble, 
because  he  forgets  that  Plato  is  writing  in  an  age  when  the  arts 
and  the  virtues,  like  the  moral  and  intellectual  faculties,  were  still 
undistinguished.  Among  early  enquirers  into  the  nature  of 
human  action  the  arts  helped  to  fill  up  the  void  of  speculation ; 
and  at  first  the  comparison  of  the  arts  and  the  virtues  was  not 
perceived  by  them  to  be  fallacious.  They  only  saw  the  points  of 
agreement  in  them  and  not  the  points  of  difference.  Virtue,  like 
art,  must  take  means  to  an  end ;  good  manners  are  both  an  art 
and  a  virtue ;  character  is  naturally  described  under  the  image 
of  a  statue  (ii.  361  D ;  vii.  540  C) ;  and  there  are  many  other  figures 
of  speech  which  are  readily  transferred  from  art  to  morals.  The 
next  generation  cleared  up  these  perplexities ;  or  at  least  supplied 
after  ages  with  a  further  analysis  of  them.  The  contemporaries 
of  Plato  •  were  in  a  state  of  transition,  and  had  not  yet  fully 
realized  the  common-sense  distinction  of  Aristotle,  that  'virtue 
is  concerned  with  action,  art  with  production '  (Nic.  Eth.  vi.  4), 
or  that  'virtue  implies  intention  and  constancy  of  purpose/ 

xxiv  The  just  is  of  the  nature  of  the  finite. 

Republic   whereas  '  art  requires  knowledge  only '  (Nic.  Eth.  ii.  3).    And  yet 
*'        in  the  absurdities  which  follow  from  some  uses  of  the  analogy 

TION,      (cp.  i.  333  E,  334  B),  there  seems  to  be  an  intimation  conveyed  that 

virtue  is  more  than  art.  This  is  implied  in  the  reductio  ad  ab- 
surdum  that  'justice  is  a  thief,'  and  in  the  dissatisfaction  which 
Socrates  expresses  at  the  final  result. 

The  expression  '  an  art  of  pay '  (i.  346  B)  which  is  described  as 
'common  to  all  the  arts'  is  not  in  accordance  with  the  ordinary  use 
of  language.  Nor  is  it  employed  elsewhere  either  by  Plato  or  by 
any  other  Greek  writer.  It  is  suggested  by  the  argument,  and 
seems  to  extend  the  conception  of  art  to  doing  as  well  as  making. 
Another  flaw  or  inaccuracy  of  language  may  be  noted  in  the  words 
(i.  335 C)  'men  who  are  injured  are  made  more  unjust.'  For 
those  who  are  injured  are  not  necessarily  made  worse,  but  only 
harmed  or  ill-treated. 

The  second  of  the  three  arguments,  'that  the  just  does  not 
aim  at  excess,'  has  a  real  meaning,  though  wrapped  up  in  an 
enigmatical  form.  That  the  good  is  of  the  nature  of  the  finite 
is  a  peculiarly  Hellenic  sentiment,  which  may  be  compared  with 
the  language  of  those  modern  writers  who  speak  of  virtue  as 
fitness,  and  of  freedom  as  obedience  to  law.  The  mathematical 
or  logical  notion  of  limit  easily  passes  into  an  ethical  one,  and 
even  finds  a  mythological  expression  in  the  conception  of  envy 
(<j)66vos).  Ideas  of  measure,  equality,  order,  unity,  proportion,  still 
linger  in  the  writings  of  moralists ;  and  the  true  spirit  of  the  fine 
arts  is  better  conveyed  by  such  terms  than  by  superlatives. 

'When  workmen  strive  to  do  better  than  well, 
They  do  confound  their  skill  in  covetousness.' 

(King  John,  Act  iv.  Sc.  2.) 

The  harmony  of  the  soul  and  body  (iii.  402  D),  and  of  the  parts  of  the 
soul  with  one  another  (iv.  442  C),  a  harmony  '  fairer  than  that  of 
musical  notes,'  is  the  true  Hellenic  mode  of  conceiving  the  per- 
fection of  human  nature. 

In  what  may  be  called  the. epilogue  of  the  discussion  with 
Thrasymachus,  Plato  argues  that  evil  is  not  a  principle  of 
strength,  but  of  discord  and  dissolution,  just  touching  the  question 
which  has  been  often  treated  in  modern  times  by  theologians 
and  philosophers,  of  the  negative  nature  of  evil  (cp.  on  the  other 
hand  x.  610).  In  the  last  argument  we  trace  the  germ  of  the 

Analysis  357-359.  xxv 

Aristotelian  doctrine  of  an  end  and  a  virtue  directed  towards  the    Republic 
end,  which   again  is  suggested   by  the   arts.     The  final  recon-   INTRODUC 
cilement  of  justice  and  happiness  and  the  identity  of  the  individual       TION- 
and  the  State  are  also  intimated.    Socrates  reassumes  the  character 
of  a  '  know-nothing ; '   at  the  same  time  he'  appears  to  be  not 
wholly  satisfied  with  the   manner  in  which  the  argument  has 
been  conducted.     Nothing-  is  concluded  ;  but  the  tendency  of  the 
dialectical  process,  here  as  always,  is  to  enlarge  our  conception  of 
ideas,  and  to  widen  their  application  to  human  life. 

Steph.     BOOK  II.    Thrasymachus  is  pacified,  but  the  intrepid  Glaucon    ANALYSIS. 

35?  insists  on  continuing  the  argument.  He  is  not  satisfied  with  the 
indirect  manner  in  which,  at  the  end  of  the  last  book,  Socrates 
had  disposed  of  the  question  'Whether  the  just  or  the  unjust 
is  the  happier.'  He  begins  by  dividing  goods  into  three  classes  : 
— first,  goods  desirable  in  themselves ;  secondly,  goods  desirable 
in  themselves  and  for  their  results;  thirdly,  goods  desirable  for 
their  results  only.  He  then  asks  Socrates  in  which  of  the  three 

358  classes  he  would    place   justice.     In  the    second   class,  replies 
Socrates,  among  goods  desirable  for  themselves  and  also  for  their 
results.    'Then  the  world  in  general  are  of  another  mind,  for 
they  say  that  justice  belongs  to  the  troublesome  class  of  goods 
which  are  desirable  for  their  results  only.    Socrates  answers  that 
this  is  the  doctrine  of  Thrasymachus  which  he  rejects.    Glaucon 
thinks  that  Thrasymachus  was  too  ready  to  listen  to  the  voice 
of  the  charmer,  and  proposes  to  consider  the  nature  of  justice 
and  injustice  in  themselves  and  apart  from  the  results  and  rewards 
of  them  which  the  world  is  always  dinning  in  his  ears.    He  will 
first  of  all  speak  of  the  nature  and  origin  of  justice ;   secondly, 
of  the  manner  in  which   men  view  justice  as  a  necessity  and 
not  a  good;    and  thirdly,  he  will  prove  the  reasonableness  of 
this  view. 

*  To  do  injustice  is  said  to  be  a  good ;  to  suffer  injustice  an  evil. 
As  the  evil  is  discovered  by  experience  to  be  greater  than  the 

359  g°°dj  tne  sufferers,  who  cannot  also  be  doers,  make  a  compact 
that  they  will  have  neither,  and  this  compact  or  mean  is  called 
justice,  but  is  really  the  impossibility  of  doing  injustice.    No  one 
would  observe  such  a  compact  if  he  were  not  obliged.    Let  us 
suppose  that  the  just  and  unjust  have  two  rings,  like  that  of  Gyges 

xxvi  Analysis  360-363. 

Republic  in  the  well-known  story,  which  make  them  invisible,  and  then  360 
'  no  difference  will  appear  in  them,  for  every  one  will  do  evil  if 
he  can.  And  he  who  abstains  will  be  regarded  by  the  world 
as  a  fool  for  his  pains.  Men  may  praise  him  in  public  out 
of  fear  for  themselves,  but  they  will  laugh  at  him  in  their  hearts. 
(Cp.  Gorgias,  483  B.) 

1  And  now  let  us  frame  an  ideal  of  the  just  and  unjust.  Imagine 
the  unjust  man  to  be  master  of  his  craft,  seldom  making  mistakes 
and  easily  correcting  them ;  having  gifts  of  money,  speech,  361 
strength — the  greatest  villain  bearing  the  highest  character  :  and 
at  his  side  let  us  place  the  just  in  his  nobleness  and  simplicity — 
being,  not  seeming — without  name  or  reward — clothed  in  his 
justice  only — the  best  of  men  who  is  thought  to  be  the  worst, 
and  let  him  die  as  he  has  lived.  I  might  add  (but  I  would  rather 
put  the  rest  into  the  mouth  of  the  panegyrists  of  injustice — they 
will  tell  you)  that  the  just  man  will  be  scourged,  racked,  bound, 
will  have  his  eyes  put  out,  and  will  at  last  be  crucified  [literally 
impaled} — and  all  this  because  he  ought  to  have  preferred  seeming 
to  being.  How  different  is  the  case  of  the  unjust  who  clings  362 
to  appearance  as  the  true  reality !  His  high  character  makes  him 
a  ruler ;  he  can  marry  where  he  likes,  trade  where  he  likes,  help 
his  friends  and  hurt  his  enemies ;  having  got  rich  by  dishonesty 
he  can  worship  the  gods  better,  and  will  therefore  be  more  loved 
by  them  than  the  just.' 

I  was  thinking  what  to  answer,  when  Adeimantus  joined  in  the 
already  unequal  fray.  He  considered  that  the  most  important 
point  of  all  had  been  omitted :— '  Men  are  taught  to  be  just  for 
the  sake  of  rewards  ;  parents  and  guardians  make  reputation  the  363 
incentive  to  virtue.  And  other  advantages  are  promised  by  them 
of  a  more  solid  kind,  such  as  wealthy  marriages  and  high  offices. 
There  are  the  pictures  in  Homer  and  Hesiod  of  fat  sheep  and 
heavy  fleeces,  rich  corn-fields  and  trees  toppling  with  fruit,  which 
the  gods  provide  in  this  life  for  the  just.  And  the  Orphic  poets 
add  a  similar  picture  of  another.  The  heroes  of  Musaeus  and 
Eumolpus  lie  on  couches  at  a  festival,  with  garlands  on  their 
heads,  enjoying  as  the  meed  of  virtue  a  paradise  of  immortal 
drunkenness.  Some  go  further,  and  speak  of  a  fair  posterity  in  the 
third  and  fourth  generation.  But  the  wicked  they  bury  in  a  slough 
and  make  them  carry  water  in  a  sieve  :  and  in  this  life  they 

Analysis  364-366.  xxvii 

attribute  to  them  the  infamy  which  Glaucon  was  assuming  to  be   Republic 
the  lot  of  the  just  who  are  supposed  to  be  unjust.  ANALYSIS 

364  '  Take  another  kind  of  argument  which  is  found  both  in  poetry 
and  prose  : — "  Virtue,"  as  Hesiod  says,  "  is  honourable  but  difficult, 
vice  is  easy  and  profitable."     You  may  often  see  the  wicked  in 
great  prosperity  and  the  righteous  afflicted  by  the  will  of  heaven. 
And  mendicant  prophets  knock  at  rich  men's  doors,  promising  to 
atone  for  the  sins  of  themselves  or  their  fathers  in  an  easy  fashion 
with  sacrifices  and  festive  games,  or  with  charms  and  invocations 
to  get  rid  of  an  enemy  good  or  bad  by  divine  help  and  at  a  small 
charge ; — they  appeal    to    books    professing    to    be  written  by 
Musaeus  and   Orpheus,   and  carry  away  the   minds   of  whole 
cities,  and  promise  to  "  get  souls  out  of  purgatory ; "   and  if  we 

365  refuse  to  listen  to  them,  no  one  knows  what  will  happen  to  us. 

'When  a  lively-minded  ingenuous  youth  hears  all  this,  what 
will  be  his  conclusion  ?  "  Will  he,"  in  the  language  of  Pindar, 
"  make  justice  his  high  tower,  or  fortify  himself  with  crooked 
deceit?"  Justice,  he  reflects,  without  the  appearance  of  justice, 
is  misery  and  ruin ;  injustice  has  the  promise  of  a  glorious  life. 
Appearance  is  master  of  truth  and  lord  of  happiness.  To  appear- 
ance then  I  will  turn, — I  will  put  on  the  show  of  virtue  and  trail 
behind  me  the  fox  of  Archilochus.  I  hear  some  one  saying  that 
"  wickedness  is  not  easily  concealed,"  to  which  I  reply  that "  nothing 
great  is  easy."  Union  and  force  and  rhetoric  will  do  much ;  and 
if  men  say  that  they  cannot  prevail  over  the  gods,  still  how  do 
we  know  that  there  are  gods  ?  Only  from  the  poets,  who  acknow- 

366  ledge  that  they  may  be  appeased  by  sacrifices.     Then  why  not 
sin  and  pay  for  indulgences  out  of  your  sin  ?    For  if  the  righteous 
are  only  unpunished,  still  they  have  no  further  reward,  while 
the  wicked  may  be  unpunished  and  have  the  pleasure  of  sinning 
too.    But  what  of  the  world  below?    Nay,  says  the  argument, 
there  are  atoning  powers  who  will  set  that  matter  right,  as  the 
poets,  who  are  the  sons  of  the  gods,  tell  us ;  and  this  is  confirmed 
by  the  authority  of  the  State. 

'  How  can  we  resist  such  arguments  in  favour  of  injustice  ?  Add 
good  manners,  and,  as  the  wise  tell  us,  we  shall  make  the  best  of 
both  worlds.  Who  that  is  not  a  miserable  caitiff  will  refrain  from 
smiling  at  the  praises  of  justice  ?  Even  if  a  man  knows  the  better 
part  he  will  not  be  angry  with  others ;  for  he  knows  also  that 


xxviii  False  bases  of  morality. 

Reptiblic    more  than  human  virtue  is  needed  to  save  a  man,  and  that  he  only 

ANALYSIS     Praises  justice  who  is  incapable  of  injustice. 

'The  origin  of  the  evil  is  that  all  men  from  the  beginning, 
heroes,  poets,  instructors  of  youth,  have  always  asserted  "  the 
temporal  dispensation,"  the  honours  and  profits  of  justice.  Had 
we  been  taught  in  early  youth  the  power  of  justice  and  injustice  367 
inherent  in  the  soul,  and  unseen  by  any  human  or  divine  eye,  we 
should  not  have  needed  others  to  be  our  guardians,  but  every  one 
would  have  been  the  guardian  of  himself.  This  is  what  I  want 
you  to  show,  Socrates  \ — other  men  use  arguments  which  rather 
tend  to  strengthen  the  position  of  Thrasymachus  that  "  might  is 
right;"  but  from  you  I  expect  better  things.  And  please,  as 
Glaucon  said,  to  exclude  reputation  ;  let  the  just  be  thought 
unjust  and  the  unjust  just,  and  do  you  still  prove  to  us  the 
superiority  of  justice.' .  . . 

INTRODUC-  The  thesis,  which  for  the  sake  of  argument  has  been  maintained 
by  Glaucon,  is  the  converse  of  that  of  Thrasymachus— not  right  is 
the  interest  of  the  stronger,  but  right  is  the  necessity  of  the 
weaker.  Starting  from  the  same  premises  he  carries  the  analysis 
of  society  a  step  further  back  ; — might  is  still  right,  but  the  might 
is  the  weakness  of  the  many  combined  against  the  strength  of  the 

There  have  been  theories  in  modern  as  well  as  in  ancient  times 
which  have  a  family  likeness  to  the  speculations  of  Glaucon  ;  e.  g. 
that  power  is  the  foundation  of  right ;  or  that  a  monarch  has  a 
divine  right  to  govern  well  or  ill ;  or  that  virtue  is  self-love  or  the 
love  of  power ;  or  that  war  is  the  natural  state  of  man ;  or  that 
private  vices  are  public  benefits.  All  such  theories  have  a  kind  of 
plausibility  from  their  partial  agreement  with  experience.  For 
human  nature  oscillates  between  good  and  evil,  and  the  motives  of 
actions  and  the  origin  of  institutions  may  be  explained  to  a  certain 
extent  on  either  hypothesis  according  to  the  character  or  point  of 
view  of  a  particular  thinker.  The  obligation  of  maintaining 
authority  under  all  circumstances  and  sometimes  by  rather 
questionable  means  is  felt  strongly  and  has  become  a  sort  of 
instinct  among  civilized  men.  The  divine  right  of  kings,  or  more 
generally  of  governments,  is  one  of  the  forms  under  which  this 
natural  feeling  is  expressed.  Nor  again  is  there  any  evil  which 
has  not  some  accompaniment  of  good  or  pleasure  ;  nor  any  good 

Justice  and  happiness.  xxix 

which  is  free  from  some  alloy  of  evil ;  nor  any  noble  or  generous  Republic 
thought  which  may  not  be  attended  by  a  shadow  or  the  ghost  of  a  INTROI)L.C 
shadow  of  self-interest  or  of  self-love.  We  know  that  all  human  TION- 
actions  are  imperfect ;  but  we  do  not  therefore  attribute  them  to 
the  worse  rather  than  to  the  better  motive  or  principle.  Such  a 
philosophy  is  both  foolish  and  false,  like  that  opinion  of  the  clever 
rogue  who  assumes  all  other  men  to  be  like  himself  (iii.  409  C). 
And  theories  of  this  sort  do  not  represent  the  real  nature  of  the 
State,  which  is  based  on  a  vague  sense  of  right  gradually  cor- 
rected and  enlarged  by  custom  and  law  (although  capable  also 
of  perversion),  any  more  than  they  describe  the  origin  of  society, 
which  is  to  be  sought  in  the  family  and  in  the  social  and  religious 
feelings  of  man.  Nor  do  they  represent  the  average  character  of 
individuals,  which  cannot  be  explained  simply  on  a  theory  of  evil, 
but  has  always  a  counteracting  element  of  good.  And  as  men 
become  better  such  theories  appear  more  and  more  untruthful  to 
them,  because  they  are  more  conscious  of  their  own  disinterested- 
ness. A  little  experience  may  make  a  man  a  cynic ;  a  great  deal 
will  bring  him  back  to  a  truer  and  kindlier  view  of  the  mixed 
nature  of  himself  and  his  fellow  men. 

The  two  brothers  ask  Socrates  to  prove  to  them  that  the  just  is 
happy  when  they  have  taken  from  him  all  that  in  which  happiness 
is  ordinarily  supposed  to  consist.  Not  that  there  is  (i)  any 
absurdity  in  the  attempt  to  frame  a  notion  of  justice  apart  from 
circumstances.  For  the  ideal  must  always  be  a  paradox  when 
compared  with  the  ordinary  conditions  of  human  life.  Neither 
the  Stoical  ideal  nor  the  Christian  ideal  is  true  as  a  fact,  but  they 
may  serve  as  a  basis  of  education,  and  may  exercise  an  ennobling 
influence.  An  ideal  is  none  the  worse  because. '  some  one  has 
made  the  discovery '  that  no  such  ideal  was  ever  realized.  (Cp.  v. 
472  D.)  And  in  a  few  exceptional  individuals '  who  are  raised 
above  the  ordinary  level  of  humanity,  the  ideal  of  happiness  may 
be  realized  in  death  and  misery.  This  may  be  the  state  which 
the  reason  deliberately  approves,  and  which  the  utilitarian  as 
well  as  every  other  moralist  may  be  bound  in  certain  cases  to 

Nor  again,  (2)  must  we  forget  that  Plato,  though  he  agrees 
generally  with  the  view  implied  in  the  argument  of  the  two 
brothers,  is  not  expressing  his  own  final  conclusion,  but  rather 

xxx  Justice  and  the  appearance  of  justice. 

Republic    seeking  to  dramatize  one  of  the  aspects  of  ethical  truth.    He  is 

developing  his  idea  gradually  in  a  series  of  positions  or  situations. 

He  is  exhibiting  Socrates  for  the  first  time  undergoing  the 
Socratic  interrogation.  Lastly,  (3)  the  word  '  happiness  '  involves 
some  degree  of  confusion  because  associated  in  the  language  of 
modern  philosophy  with  conscious  pleasure  or  satisfaction,  which 
was  not  equally  present  to  his  mind. 

Glaucon  has  been  drawing  a  picture  of  the  misery  of  the  just 
and  the  happiness  of  the  unjust,  to  which  the  misery  of  the  tyrant 
in  Book  IX  is  the  answer  and  parallel.  And  still  the  unjust  must 
appear  just  ;  that  is  *  the  homage  which  vice  pays  to  virtue.'  But 
now  Adeimantus,  taking  up  the  hint  which  had  been  already  given 
by  Glaucon  (ii.  358  C),  proceeds  to  show  that  in  the  opinion  of 
mankind  justice  is  regarded  only  for  the  sake  of  rewards  and 
reputation,  and  points  out  the  advantage  which  is  given  to  such 
arguments  as  those  of  Thrasymachus  and  Glaucon  by  the  conven- 
tional morality  of  mankind.  He  seems  to  feel  the  difficulty  of 
'justifying  the  ways  of  God  to  man.'  Both  the  brothers  touch 
upon  the  question,  whether  the  morality  of  actions  is  determined 
by  their  consequences  (cp.  iv.  420  foil.)  ;  and  both  of  them  go 
beyond  the  position  of  Socrates,  that  justice  belongs  to  the  class  of 
goods  not  desirable  for  themselves  only,  but  desirable  for  them- 
selves and  for  their  results,  to  which  he  recalls  them.  In  their 
attempt  to  view  justice  as  an  internal  principle,  and  in  their 
condemnation  of  the  poets,  they  anticipate  him.  The  common  life 
of  Greece  is  not  enough  for  them  ;  they  must  penetrate  deeper  into 
the  nature  of  things. 

It  has  been  objected  that  justice  is  honesty  in  the  sense  of 
Glaucon  and  Adeimantus,  but  is  taken  by  Socrates  to  mean  all 
virtue.  May  we  not  more  truly  say  that  the  old-fashioned  notion 
of  justice  is  enlarged  by  Socrates,  and  becomes  equivalent  to 
universal  order  or  well-being,  first  in  the  State,  and  secondly 
in  the  individual  ?  He  has  found  a  new  answer  to  his  old  ques- 
tion (Protag.  329),  'whether  the  virtues  are  one  or  many,'  viz.  that 
one  is  the  ordering  principle  of  the  three  others.  In  seeking 
to  establish  the  purely  internal  nature  of  justice,  he  is  met  by 
the  fact  that  man  is  a  social  being,  and  he  tries  to  harmonise 
the  two  opposite  theses  as  well  as  he  can.  There  is  no  more 
inconsistency  in  this  than  was  inevitable  in  his  age  and  country  ; 

Justice  in  the  state.  xxxi 

there  is  no  use  in  turning  upon  him  the  cross  lights  of  modern  Republic 
philosophy,  which,  from  some  other  point  of  view,  would  appear 
equally  inconsistent.      Plato  does  not  give  the  final  solution  of 
philosophical  questions  for  us ;  nor  can  he  be  judged  of  by  our 

The  remainder  of  the  Republic  is  developed  out  of  the  question 
of  the  sons  of  Ariston.  Three  points  are  deserving  of  remark 
in  what  immediately  follows  : — First,  that  the  answer  of  Socrates 
is  altogether  indirect.  He  does  not  say  that  happiness  consists  in 
the  contemplation  of  the  idea  of  justice,  and  still  less  will  he 
be  tempted  to  affirm  the  Stoical  paradox  that  the  just  man  can  be 
happy  on  the  rack.  But  first  he  dwells  on  the  difficulty  of  the 
problem  and  insists  on  restoring  man  to  his  natural  condition, 
before  he  will  answer  the  question  at  all.  He  too  will  frame 
an  ideal,  but  his  ideal  comprehends  not  only  abstract  justice, 
but  the  whole  relations  of  man.  Under  the  fanciful  illustration  of 
the  large  letters  he  implies  that  he  will  only  look  for  justice  in 
society,  and  that  from  the  State  he  will  proceed  to  the  individual. 
His  answer  in  substance  amounts  to  this,— that  under  favourable 
conditions,  i.e.  in  the  perfect  State,  justice  and  happiness  will 
coincide,  and  that  when  justice  has  been  once  found,  happiness 
may  be  left  to  take  care  of  itself.  That  he  falls  into  some  degree 
of  inconsistency,  when  in  the  tenth  book  (612  A)  he  claims  to  have 
got  rid  of  the  rewards  and  honours  of  justice,  may  be  admitted ; 
for  he  has  left  those  which  exist  in  the  perfect  State.  And 
the  philosopher  '  who  retires  under  the  shelter  of  a  wall '  (vi.  496) 
can  hardly  have  been  esteemed  happy  by  him,  at  least  not  in  this 
world.  Still  he  maintains  the  true  attitude  of  moral  action. 
Let  a  man  do  his  duty  first,  without  asking  whether  he  will  be 
happy  or  not,  and  happiness  will  be  the  inseparable  accident 
which  attends  him.  '  Seek  ye  first  the  kingdom  of  God  and  his 
righteousness,  and  all  these  things  shall  be  added  unto  you.' 

Secondly,  it  may  be  remarked  that  Plato  preserves  the  genuine 
character  of  Greek  thought  in  beginning  with  the  State  and 
in  going  on  to  the  individual.  First  ethics,  then  politics— this  is 
the  order  of  ideas  to  us ;  the  reverse  is  the  order  of  history.  Only 
after  many  struggles  of  thought  does  the  individual  assert  his 
right  as  a  moral  being.  In  early  ages  he  is  not  one,  but  one 
of  many,  the  citizen  of  a  State  which  is  prior  to  him ;  and  he 


Collective  and  individual  action. 



has  no  notion  of  good  or  evil  apart  from  the  law  of  his  country  or 
tne  creed  °f  ms  church.  And  to  this  type  he  is  constantly  tending 
to  revert,  whenever  the  influence  of  custom,  or  of  party  spirit,  or 
the  recollection  of  the  past  becomes  too  strong  for  him. 

Thirdly,  we  may  observe  the  confusion  or  identification  of  the 
individual  and  the  State,  of  ethics  and  politics,  which  pervades 
early  Greek  speculation,  and  even  in  modern  times  retains  a 
certain  degree  of  influence.  The  subtle  difference  between  the 
collective  and  individual  action  of  mankind  seems  to  have  escaped 
early  thinkers,  and  we  too  are  sometimes  in  danger  of  for- 
getting the  conditions  of  united  human  action,  whenever  we  either 
elevate  politics  into  ethics,  or  lower  ethics  to  the  standard  of  politics. 
The  good  man  and  the  good  citizen  only  coincide  in  the  perfect 
State  ;  and  this  perfection  cannot  be  attained  by  legislation  acting 
upon  them  from  without,  but,  if  at  all,  by  education  fashioning 
them  from  within. 

.  .  .  Socrates  praises  the  sons  of  Ariston,  '  inspired  offspring  of  368 
the  renowned  hero,'  as  the  elegiac  poet  terms  them  ;  but  he  does 
not  understand  how  they  can  argue  so  eloquently  on  behalf  of 
injustice  while  their  character  shows  that  they  are  uninfluenced 
by  their  own  arguments.  He  knows  not  how  to  answer  them, 
although  he  is  afraid  of  deserting  justice  in  the  hour  of  need. 
He  therefore  makes  a  condition,  that  having  weak  eyes  he  shall 
be  allowed  to  read  the  large  letters  first  and  then  go  on  to 
the  smaller,  that  is,  he  must  look  for  justice  in  the  State  first, 
and  will  then  proceed  to  the  individual.  Accordingly  he  begins  369 
to  construct  the  State. 

Society  arises  out  of  the  wants  of  man.  His  first  want  is  food  ; 
his  second  a  house  ;  his  third  a  coat.  The  sense  of  these  needs 
and  the  possibility  of  satisfying  them  by  exchange,  draw  in- 
dividuals together  on  the  same  spot;  and  this  is  the  beginning 
of  a  State,  which  we  take  the  liberty  to  invent,  although  neces- 
sity is  the  real  inventor.  There  must  be  first  a  husbandman, 
secondly  a  builder,  thirdly  a  weaver,  to  which  may  be  added 
a  cobbler.  Four  or  five  citizens  at  least  are  required  to  make 
a  city.  Now  men  have  different  natures,  and  one  man  will  do  one  370 
thing  better  than  many  ;  and  business  waits  for  no  man.  Hence 
there  must  be  a  division  of  labour  into  different  employments  ;  into 
wholesale  and  retail  trade  ;  into  workers,  and  makers  of  workmen's 

Analysis  370-375.  xxxiii 

tools  ;  into  shepherds  and  husbandmen.   A  city  which  includes  all    Republic 
this  will  have  far  exceeded  the  limit  of  four  or  five,  and  yet  not  be    ANALySIS 

371  very  large.     But  then  again  imports  will  be  required,  and  im- 
ports necessitate  exports,  and  this  implies  variety  of  produce  in 
order  to  attract  the   taste   of  purchasers;   also  merchants  and 
ships.     In  the  city  too  we  must  have  a  market  and  money  and 
retail  trades ;  otherwise  buyers  and  sellers  will  never  meet,  and 
the  valuable  time  of  the  producers  will  be  wasted  in  vain  efforts 
at  exchange.     If  we  add  hired  servants  the  State  will  be  com- 
plete.    And  we  may  guess  that  somewhere  in  the  intercourse  of 

372  the  citizens  with  one  another  justice  and  injustice  will  appear. 

Here  follows  a  rustic  picture  of  their  way  of  life.  They  spend 
their  days  in  houses  which  they  have  built  for  themselves ;  they 
make  their  own  clothes  and  produce  their  own  corn  and  wine. 
Their  principal  food  is  meal  and  flour,  and  they  drink  in 
moderation.  They  live  on  the  best  of  terms  with  each  other,  and 
take  care  not  to  have  too  many  children.  '  But,'  said  Glaucon, 
interposing,  '  are  they  not  to  have  a  relish  ? '  Certainly ;  they 
will  have  salt  and  olives  and  cheese,  vegetables  and  fruits, 
and  chestnuts  to  roast  at  the  fire.  '  'Tis  a  city  of  pigs,  Socrates.' 
Why,  I  replied,  what  do  you  want  more  ?  '  Only  the  comforts  of 
life,— sofas  and  tables,  also  sauces  and  sweets.'  I  see ;  you  want 
not  only  a  State,  but  a  luxurious  State  ;  and  possibly  in  the  more 
complex  frame  we  may  sooner  find  justice  and  injustice.  Then 

373  the  fine  arts  must  go  to  work— every  conceivable  instrument  and 
ornament  of  luxury  will  be  wanted.      There  will  be  dancers, 
painters,  sculptors,  musicians,  cooks,  barbers,  tire-women,  nurses, 
artists ;   swineherds   and    neatherds   too    for   the    animals,  and 
physicians  to  cure  the  disorders  of  which  luxury  is  the  source.    To 
feed  all  these  superfluous  mouths  we  shall  need  a  part  of  our 
neighbours'  land,  and  they  will  want  a  part  of  ours.     And  this 
is  the  origin  of  war,  which  may  be  traced  to  the  same  causes 

374  as  other  political  evils.     Our  city  will  now  require  the  slight 
addition  of  a  camp,  and  the  citizen  will  be  converted  into  a  soldier. 
But  then  again  our  old  doctrine  of  the  division  of  labour  must  not 
be  forgotten.     The  art  of  war  cannot  be  learned  in  a  day,  and 
there  must  be  a  natural  aptitude  for  military  duties.    There  will 

375  be  some  warlike  natures  who  have  this  aptitude— dogs  keen  of 
scent,  swift  of  foot  to  pursue,  and  strong  of  limb  to  fight.    And 


xxxiv  Analysis  375-379. 

Republic   as  spirit  is  the  foundation  of  courage,  such  natures,  whether  of 
men  or  animals,  will  be  full  of  spirit.    But  these  spirited  natures 


are  apt  to  bite  and  devour  one  another ;  the  union  of  gentleness  to 
friends  and  fierceness  against  enemies  appears  to  be  an  im- 
possibility, and  the  guardian  of  a  State  requires  both  qualities. 
Who  then  can  be  a  guardian  ?  The  image  of  the  dog  suggests 
an  answer.  For  dogs  are  gentle  to  friends  and  fierce  to  strangers.  376 
Your  dog  is  a  philosopher  who  judges  by  the  rule  of  knowing 
or  not  knowing;  and  philosophy,  whether  in  man  or  beast,  is 
the  parent  of  gentleness.  The  human  watchdogs  must  be  philo- 
sophers or  lovers  of  learning  which  will  make  them  gentle.  And 
how  are  they  to  be  learned  without  education  ? 

But  what  shall  their  education  be  ?  Is  any  better  than  the  old- 
fashioned  sort  which  is  comprehended  under  the  name  of  music 
and  gymnastic  ?  Music  includes  literature,  and  literature  is  of  two  377 
kinds,  true  and  false.  'What  do  you  mean?'  he  said.  I  mean 
that  children  hear  stories  before  they  learn  gymnastics,  and  that 
the  stories  are  either  untrue,  or  have  at  most  one  or  two  grains 
of  truth  in  a  bushel  of  falsehood.  Now  early  life  is  very  im- 
pressible, and  children  ought  not  to  learn  what  they  will  have 
to  unlearn  when  they  grow  up  ;  we  must  therefore  have  a  censor- 
ship of  nursery  tales,  banishing  some  and  keeping  others.  Some 
of  them  are  very  improper,  as  we  may  see  in  the  great  instances 
of  Homer  and  Hesiod,  who  not  only  tell  lies  but  bad  lies  ;  stories 
about  Uranus  and  Saturn,  which  are  immoral  as  well  as  false,  378 
and  which  should  never  be  spoken  of  to  young  persons,  or 
indeed  at  all ;  or,  if  at  all,  then  in  a  mystery,  after  the  sacrifice, 
not  of  an  Eleusinian  pig,  but  of  some  unprocurable  animal.  Shall 
our  youth  be  encouraged  to  beat  their  fathers  by  the  example 
of  Zeus,  or  our  citizens  be  incited  to  quarrel  by  hearing  or  seeing 
representations  of  strife  among  the  gods?  Shall  they  listen  to 
the  narrative  of  Hephaestus  binding  his  mother,  and  of  Zeus 
sending  him  flying  for  helping  her  when  she  was  beaten  ?  Such 
tales  may  possibly  have  a  mystical  interpretation,  but  the  young 
are  incapable  of  understanding  allegory.  If  any  one  asks  what 
tales  are  to  be  allowed,  we  will  answer  that  we  are  legislators  and  379 
not  book-makers;  we  only  lay  down  the  principles  according 
to  which  books  are  to  be  written ;  to  write  them  is  the  duty  of 

Analysis  379-383- 


And  our  first  principle  is,  that  God  must  be  represented  as  he    Republic 
is ;   not  as  the  author  of  all  things,  but  of  good  only.    We  will    A 
not  suffer  the  poets  to  say  that  he  is  the  steward  of  good  and 
evil,  or  that  he  has  two  casks  full  of  destinies ;— or  that  Athene 
and  Zeus  incited  Pandarus  to  break  the  treaty;    or  that  God 

380  caused  the  sufferings  of  Niobe,  or  of  Pelops,  or  the  Trojan  war ; 
or  that  he  makes  men  sin  when  he  wishes  to  destroy  them. 
Either  these  were  not  the  actions  of  the  gods,  or  God  was  just, 
and  men  were  the  better  for  being  punished.    But  that  the  deed 
was  evil,  and  God  the  author,  is  a  wicked,  suicidal  fiction  which 
we  will  allow  no  one,  old  or  young,  to  utter.    This  is  our  first 
and  great  principle — God  is  the  author  of  good  only. 

And  the  second  principle  is  like  unto  it : — With  God  is  no  vari- 
ableness or  change  of  form.  Reason  teaches  us  this ;  for  if  we 
suppose  a  change  in  God,  he  must  be  changed  either  by  another 
or  by  himself.  By  another  ? — but  the  best  works  of  nature  and 

381  art  and  the  noblest  qualities  of  mind  are  least  liable  to  be  changed 
by  any  external  force.    By  himself? — but  he  cannot  change  for  the 
better ;   he  will  hardly  change  for  the  worse.    He  remains  for 
ever  fairest  and  best  in  his  own  image.    Therefore  we  refuse  to 
listen  to  the  poets  who  tell  us  of  Here  begging  in  the  likeness  of 
a  priestess  or    of   other  deities  who  prowl  about  at  night  in 
strange  disguises;   all  that  blasphemous  nonsense  with  which 
mothers  fool  the  manhood  out  of  their  children  must  be  sup- 

382  pressed.    But  some  one  will  say  that  God,  who  is  himself  un- 
changeable, may  take  a  form  in  relation  to  us.    Why  should  he  ? 
For  gods  as  well  as  men  hate  the  lie  in  the  soul,  or  principle 
of  falsehood ;   and  as  for  any  other  form  of  lying  which  is  used 
for  a  purpose  and  is  regarded  as  innocent  in  certain  exceptional 
cases — what  need  have  the   gods    of  this  ?    For  they  are  not 
ignorant  of  antiquity  like  the  poets,  nor  are  they  afraid  of  their 

383  enemies,  nor  is  any  madman  a  friend  of  theirs.    God  then  is 
true,  he  is  absolutely  true;    he  changes  not,  he  deceives  not, 
by  day  or  night,  by  word  or  sign.     This  is  our  second  great 
principle— God  is  true.    Away  with  the  lying  dream  of  Aga- 
memnon in  Homer,  and  the  accusation  of  Thetis  against  Apollo 
in  Aeschylus. .  . . 

In  order  to  give  clearness  to  his  conception  of  the  State,  Plato    INTRODUC- 


proceeds  to  trace  the  first  principles   of  mutual  need  and  of 


xxxvi  Political  Economy  in  Plato. 

Republic   division  of  labour  in  an  imaginary  community  of  four  or  five 


citizens.     Gradually  this  community  increases ;    the  division  of 

labour  extends  to  countries  ;  imports  necessitate  exports  ;  a 
medium  of  exchange  is  required,  and  retailers  sit  in  the  market- 
place to  save  the  time  of  the  producers.  These  are  the  steps 
by  which  Plato  constructs  the  first  or  primitive  State,  introducing 
the  elements  of  political  economy  by  the  way.  As  he  is  going 
to  frame  a  second  or  civilized  State,  the  simple  naturally  comes 
before  the  complex.  He  indulges,  like  Rousseau,  in  a  picture  of 
primitive  life — an  idea  which  has  indeed  often  had  a  powerful  in- 
fluence on  the  imagination  of  mankind,  but  he  does  not  seriously 
mean  to  say  that  one  is  better  than  the  other  (cp.  Politicus, 
p.  272) ;  nor  can  any  inference  be  drawn  from  the  description 
of  the  first  state  taken  apart  from  the  second,  such  as  Aristotle 
appears  to  draw  in  the  Politics,  iv.  4,  12  (cp.  again  Politicus,  272). 
We  should  not  interpret  a  Platonic  dialogue  any  more  than  a 
poem  or  a  parable  in  too  literal  or  matter-of-fact  a  style.  On 
the  other  hand,  when  we  compare  the  lively  fancy  of  Plato  with 
the  dried-up  abstractions  of  modern  treatises  on  philosophy,  we 
are  compelled  to  say  with  Protagoras,  that  the  '  mythus  is  more 
interesting '  (Protag.  320  D). 

Several  interesting  remarks  which  in  modern  times  would  have 
a  place  in  a  treatise  on  Political  Economy  are  scattered  up  and 
down  the  writings  of  Plato :  cp.  especially  Laws,  v.  740,  Population ; 
viii.  847,  Free  Trade ;  xi.  916-7,  Adulteration ;  923-4,.  Wills  and 
Bequests ;  930,  Begging ;  Eryxias,  (though  not  Plato's),  Value  and 
Demand ;  Republic,  ii.  369  ff.,  Division  of  Labour.  The  last  subject, 
and  also  the  origin  of  Retail  Trade,  is  treated  with  admirable 
lucidity  in  the  second  book  of  the  Republic.  But  Plato  never  com- 
bined his  economic  ideas  into  a  system,  and  never  seems  to  have 
recognized  that  Trade  is  one  of  the  great  motive  powers  of  the 
State  and  of  the  world.  He  would  make  retail  traders  only  of  the 
inferior  sort  of  citizens  (Rep.  ii.  371 ;  cp.  Laws,  viii.  847),  though  he 
remarks,  quaintly  enough  (Laws,  ix.  918  D),  that '  if  only  the  best 
men  and  the  best  women  everywhere  were  compelled  to  keep 
taverns  for  a  time  or  to  carry  on  retail  trade,  etc.,  then  we  should 
know  how  pleasant  and  agreeable  all  these  things  are.' 

The  disappointment  of  Glaucon  at  the  '  city  of  pigs,'  the  ludi- 
crous description  of  the  ministers  of  luxury  in  the  more  refined 

Use  of  fiction.  xxxvii 

State,  and  the  afterthought  of  the  necessity  of  doctors,  the  illus-  Republic 
tration  of  the  nature  of  the  guardian  taken  from  the  dog,  the  lNTROpUC 
desirableness  of  offering  some  almost  unprocurable  victim  when  TION- 
impure  mysteries  are  to  be  celebrated,  the  behaviour  of  Zeus 
to  his  father  and  of  Hephaestus  to  his  mother,  are  touches  of 
humour  which  have  also  a  serious  meaning.  In  speaking  of 
education  Plato  rather  startles  us  by  affirming  that  a  child  must 
be  trained  in  falsehood  first  and  in  truth  afterwards.  Yet  this 
is  not  very  different  from  saying  that  children  must  be  taught 
through  the  medium  of  imagination  as  well  as  reason  ;  that  their 
minds  can  only  develope  gradually,  and  that  there  is  much  which 
they  must  learn  without  understanding  (cp.  iii.  402  A).  This  is 
also  the  substance  of  Plato's  view,  though  he  must  be  acknow- 
ledged to  have  drawn  the  line  somewhat  differently  from  modern 
ethical  writers,  respecting  truth  and  falsehood.  To  us,  economies 
or  accommodations  would  not  be  allowable  unless  they  were 
required  by  the  human  faculties  or  necessary  for  the  communi- 
cation of  knowledge  to  the  simple  and  ignorant.  We  should 
insist  that  the  word  was  inseparable  from  the  intention,  and  that 
we  must  not  be  '  falsely  true,'  i.  e.  speak  or  act  falsely  in  support 
of  what  was  right  or  true.  But  Plato  would  limit  the  use  of 
fictions  only  by  requiring  that  they  should  have  a  good  moral 
effect,  and  that  such  a  dangerous  weapon  as  falsehood  should  be 
employed  by  the  rulers  alone  and  for  great  objects. 

A  Greek  in  the  age  of  Plato  attached  no  importance  to  the 
question  whether  his  religion  was  an  historical  fact.  He  was 
just  beginning  to  be  conscious  that  the  past  had  a  history;  but 
he  could  see  nothing  beyond  Homer  and  Hesiod.  Whether  their 
narratives  were  true  or  false  did  not  seriously  affect  the  political 
or  social  life  of  Hellas.  Men  only  began  to  suspect  that  they 
were  fictions  when  they  recognised  them  to  be  immoral.  And 
so  in  all  religions  :  the  consideration  of  their  morality  comes  first, 
afterwards  the  truth  of  the  documents  in  which  they  are  re- 
corded, or  of  the  events  natural  or  supernatural  which  are  told 
of  them.  But  in  modern  times,  and  in  Protestant  countries  per- 
haps more  than  in  Catholic,  we  have  been  too  much  inclined  to 
identify  the  historical  with  the  moral ;  and  some  have  refused 
to  believe  in  religion  at  all,  unless  a  superhuman  accuracy  was 
discernible  jn  every  part  of  the  record.  The  facts  of  an  ancient 

xxxviii  Myth  and  allegory. 

Republic   or  religious  history  are  amongst  the  most  important  of  all  facts  ; 
J  but  they  are  frequently  uncertain,  and  we  only  learn  the  true 

lesson  which  is  to  be  gathered  from  them  when  we  place  our- 
selves above  them.  These  reflections  tend  to  show  that  the 
difference  between  Plato  and  ourselves,  though  not  unimportant, 
is  not  so  great  as  might  at  first  sight  appear.  For  we  should 
agree  with  him  in  placing  the  moral  before  the  historical  truth 
of  religion ;  and,  generally,  in  disregarding  those  errors  or  mis- 
statements  of  fact  which  necessarily  occur  in  the  early  stages  of 
all  religions.  We  know  also  that  changes  in  the  traditions  of  a 
country  cannot  be  made  in  a  day ;  and  are  therefore  tolerant  of 
many  things  which  science  and  criticism  would  condemn. 

We  note  in  passing  that  the  allegorical  interpretation  of  mytho- 
logy, said  to  have  been  first  introduced  as  early  as  the  sixth 
century  before  Christ  by  Theagenes  of  Rhegium,  was  well  estab- 
lished in  the  age  of  Plato,  and  here,  as  in  the  Phaedrus  (229-30), 
though  for  a  different  reason,  was  rejected  by  him.  That  ana- 
chronisms whether  of  religion  or  law,  when  men  have  reached 
another  stage  of  civilization,  should  be  got  rid  of  by  fictions  is  in 
accordance  with  universal  experience.  Great  is  the  art  of  inter- 
pretation ;  and  by  a  natural  process,  which  when  once  discovered 
was  always  going  on,  what  could  not  be  altered  was  explained 
away.  And  so  without  any  palpable  inconsistency  there  existed 
side  by  side  two  forms  of  religion,  the  tradition  inherited  or 
invented  by  the  poets  and  the  customary  worship  of  the  temple ; 
on  the  other  hand,  there  was  the  religion  of  the  philosopher,  who 
was  dwelling  in  the  heaven  of  ideas,  but  did  not  therefore  refuse 
to  offer  a  cock  to  ^Esculapius,  or  to  be  seen  saying  his  prayers 
at  the  rising  of  the  sun.  At  length  the  antagonism  between  the 
popular  and  philosophical  religion,  never  so  great  among  the 
Greeks  as  in  our  own  age,  disappeared,  and  was  only  felt  like  the 
difference  between  the  religion  of  the  educated  and  uneducated 
among  ourselves.  The  Zeus  of  Homer  and  Hesiod  easily  passed 
into  the  *  royal  mind '  of  Plato  (Philebus,  28) ;  the  giant  Heracles 
became  the  knight-errant  and  benefactor  of  mankind.  These  and 
still  more  wonderful  transformations  were  readily  effected  by  the 
ingenuity  of  Stoics  and  neo-Platonists  in  the  two  or  three  centuries 
before  and  after  Christ.  The  Greek  and  Roman  religions  were 
gradually  permeated  by  the  spirit  of  philosophy ;  having  lost  their 

The  lie  in  the  soul.  xxxix 

ancient  meaning,  they  were  resolved  into  poetry  and  morality ;    Republic 
and  probably  were  never  purer  than  at  the  time  of  their  decay,        J 
when  their  influence  over  the  world  was  waning.  TI°N. 

A  singular  conception  which  occurs  towards  the  end  of  the 
book  is  the  lie  in  the  soul ;  this  is  connected  with  the  Platonic  • 
and  Socratic  doctrine  that  involuntary  ignorance  is  worse  than 
voluntary.  The  lie  in  the  soul  is  a  true  lie,  the  corruption 
of  the  highest  truth,  the  deception  of  the  highest  part  of  the 
soul,  from  which  he  who  is  deceived  has  no  power  of  delivering 
himself.  For  example,  to  represent  God  as  false  or  immoral,  or, 
according  to  Plato,  as  deluding  men  with  appearances  or  as  the 
author  of  evil ;  or  again,  to  affirm  with  Protagoras  that  '  know- 
ledge is  sensation,'  or  that  '  being  is  becoming,'  or  with  Thrasy- 
machus  '  that  might  is  right,'  would  have  been  regarded  by  Plato 
as  a  lie  of  this  hateful  sort.  The  greatest  unconsciousness  of  the 
greatest  untruth,  e.  g.  if,  in  the  language  of  the  Gospels  (John  iv. 
41),  *  he  who  was  blind '  were  to  say  '  I  see,'  is  another  aspect  of  the 
state  of  mind  which  Plato  is  describing.  The  lie  in  the  soul  may 
be  further  compared  with  the  sin  against  the  Holy  Ghost  (Luke 
xii.  10),  allowing  for  the  difference  between  Greek  and  Christian 
modes  of  speaking.  To  this  is  opposed  the  lie  in  words,  which 
is  only  such  a  deception  as  may  occur  in  a  play  or  poem,  or 
allegory  or  figure  of  speech,  or  in  any  sort  of  accommodation, — 
which  though  useless  to  the  gods  may  be  useful  to  men  in  certain 
cases.  Socrates  is  here  answering  the  question  which  he  had 
himself  raised  (i.  331  C)  about  the  propriety  of  deceiving  a  mad- 
man ;  and  he  is  also  contrasting  the  nature  of  God  and  man.  For 
God  is  Truth,  but  mankind  can  only  be  true  by  appearing  some- 
times to  be  partial,  or  false.  Reserving  for  another  place  the 
greater  questions  of  religion  or  education,  we  may  note  further, 
(i)  the  approval  of  the  old  traditional  education  of  Greece  ;  (2)  the 
preparation  which  Plato  is  making  for  the  attack  on  Homer  and 
the  poets ;  (3)  the  preparation  which  he  is  also  making  for  the  use 
of  economies  in  the  State ;  (4)  the  contemptuous  and  at  the 
same  time  euphemistic  manner  in  which  here  as  below  (iii.  390) 
he  alludes  to  the  Chronique  Scandaleuse  of  the  gods. 

steph.      BOOK  III.     There  is  another  motive  in  purifying  religion,    ANALYSIS. 
which  is  to  banish  fear;  for  no  man  can  be  courageous  who  is 

xl  Analysis  386-389. 

Republic  afraid  of  death,  or  who  believes  the  tales  which  are  repeated  by 
ANALYSIS  the  Poets  concerning  the  world  below.  They  must  be  gently 
requested  not  to  abuse  hell;  they  may  be  reminded  that  their 
stories  are  both  untrue  and  discouraging.  Nor  must  they  be 
angry  if  we  expunge  obnoxious  passages,  such  as  the  depressing 
words  of  Achilles — 'I  would  rather  be  a  serving- man  than  rule 
over  all  the  dead ; '  and  the  verses  which  tell  of  the  squalid 
mansions,  the  senseless  shadows,  the  flitting  soul  mourning  over 
lost  strength  and  youth,  the  soul  with  a  gibber  going  beneath  the  387 
earth  like  smoke,  or  the  souls  of  the  suitors  which  flutter  about  like 
bats.  The  terrors  and  horrors  of  Cocytus  and  Styx,  ghosts  and 
sapless  shades,  and  the  rest  of  their  Tartarean  nomenclature,  must 
vanish.  Such  tales  may  have  their  use ;  but  they  are  not  the 
proper  food  for  soldiers.  As  little  can  we  admit  the  sorrows  and 
sympathies  of  the  Homeric  heroes  : — Achilles,  the  son  of  Thetis, 
in  tears,  throwing  ashes  on  his  head,  or  pacing  up  and  down  the 
sea -shore  in  distraction  ;  or  Priam,  the  cousin  of  the  gods,  crying 
aloud,  rolling  in  the  mire.  A  good  man  is  not  prostrated  at  the 
Joss  of  children  or  fortune.  Neither  is  death  terrible  to  him  ;  and 
therefore  lamentations  over  the  dead  should  not  be  practised  by 
men  of  note  ;  they  should  be  the  concern  of  inferior  persons  only,  388 
whether  women  or  men.  Still  worse  is  the  attribution  of  such 
weakness  to  the  gods ;  as  when  the  goddesses  say,  '  Alas !  my 
travail ! '  and  worst  of  all,  when  the  king  of  heaven  himself 
laments  his  inability  to  save  Hector,  or  sorrows  over  the  im- 
pending doom  of  his  dear  Sarpedon.  Such  a  character  of  God,  if 
not  ridiculed  by  our  young  men,  is  likely  to  be  imitated  by  them. 
Nor  should  our  citizens  be  given  to  excess  of  laughter — 'Such 
violent  delights '  are  followed  by  a  violent  re-action.  The  descrip-  389 
tion  in  the  Iliad  of  the  gods  shaking  their  sides  at  the  clumsiness 
of  Hephaestus  will  not  be  ad.mitted  by  us.  '  Certainly  not.' 

Truth  should  have  a  high  place  among  the  virtues,  for  falsehood, 
as  we  were  saying,  is  useless  to  the  gods,  and  only  useful  to  men 
as  a  medicine.  But  this  employment  of  falsehood  must  remain  a 
privilege  of  state ;  the  common  man  must  not  in  return  tell  a  lie  to 
the  ruler;  any  more  than  the  patient  would  tell  a  lie  to  his 
physician,  or  the  sailor  to  his  captain. 

In  the  next  place  our  youth  must  be  temperate,  and  temperance 
consists  in  self-control  and  obedience  to  authority.  That  is  a 

Analysis  389-392.  xli 

lesson  which  Homer  teaches  in  some  places:  'The  Achaeans   Republic 
marched  on  breathing  prowess,  in  silent  awe  of  their  leaders  ; ' — 


but  a  very  different  one  in  other  places  :  '  O  heavy  with  wine,  who 

390  hast  the  eyes  of  a  dog,  but  the  heart  of  a  stag.'    Language  of  the 
A     latter  kind  will  not  impress  self-control  on  the  minds  of  youth* 

The  same  may  be  said  about  his  praises  of  eating  and  drinking 
and  his  dread  of  starvation  ;  also  about  the  verses  in  which  he  tells 
of  the  rapturous  loves  of  Zeus  and  Here,  or  of  how  Hephaestus 
once  detained  Ares  and  Aphrodite  in  a  net  on  a  similar  occasion. 
There  is  a  nobler  strain  heard  in  the  words  : — '  Endure,  my  soul, 
thou  hast  endured  worse.'  Nor  must  we  allow  our  citizens  to 
receive  bribes,  or  to  say,  '  Gifts  persuade  the  gods,  gifts  reverend 
kings ; '  or  to  applaud  the  ignoble  advice  of  Phoenix  to  Achilles 
that  he  should  get  money  out  of  the  Greeks  before  he  assisted 
them ;  or  the  meanness  of  Achilles  himself  in  taking  gifts  from 

391  Agamemnon ;  or  his  requiring  a  ransom  for  the  body  of  Hector; 
or  his  cursing  of  Apollo ;    or   his    insolence  to    the    river-god 
Scamander ;   or  his  dedication  to  the  dead  Patroclus  of  his  own 
hair  which  had  been  already  dedicated  to  the  other  river-god 
Spercheius  ;  or  his  cruelty  in  dragging  the  body  of  Hector  round 
the  walls,  and  slaying  the  captives  at  the  pyre :  such  a  combina- 
tion of  meanness  and  cruelty  in  Cheiron's  pupil  is  inconceivable. 
The  amatory  exploits  of  Peirithous   and   Theseus    are  equally 
unworthy.    Either  these  so-called  sons  of  gods  were  not  the  sons 
of  gods,  or  they  were  not  such  as  the  poets  imagine  them,  any 
more  than  the  gods  themselves  are  the  authors  of  evil.    The  youth 
who  believes  that  such  things  are  done  by  those  who  have  the 

392  blood   of  heaven  flowing  in  their  veins  will  be  too  ready   to 
imitate  their  example. 

Enough  of  gods  and  heroes ; — what  shall  we  say  about  men  ? 
What  the  poets  and  story-tellers  say — that  the  wicked  prosper 
and  the  righteous  are  afflicted,  or  that  justice  is  another's  gain  ? 
Such  misrepresentations  cannot  be  allowed  by  us.  But  in  this 
we  are  anticipating  the  definition  of  justice,  and  had  therefore 
better  defer  the  enquiry. 

The  subjects  of  poetry  have  been  sufficiently  treated;  next 
follows  style.  Now  all  poetry  is  a  narrative  of  events  past, 
present,  or  to  come  ;  and  narrative  is  of  three  kinds,  the  simple, 
the  imitative,  and  a  composition  of  the  two.  An  instance  will 

xlii  Analysis  393-398. 

Republic  make  my  meaning  clear.  The  first  scene  in  Homer  is  of  the  last  393 
'  or  mixed  kind,  being  partly  description  and  partly  dialogue.  But 
if  you  throw  the  dialogue  into  the  '  oratio  obliqua,'  the  passage 
will  run  thus :  The  priest  came  and  prayed  Apollo  that  the  394 
Achaeans  might  take  Troy  and  have  a  safe  return  if  Agamemnon 
would  only  give  him  back  his  daughter;  and  the  other  Greeks 
assented,  but  Agamemnon  was  wroth,  and  so  on — The  whole  then 
becomes  descriptive,  and  the  poet  is  the  only  speaker  left ;  or,  if 
you  omit  the  narrative,  the  whole  becomes  dialogue.  These  are 
the  three  styles — which  of  them  is  to  be  admitted  into  our  State  ? 
*  Do  you  ask  whether  tragedy  and  comedy  are  to  be  admitted  ? ' 
Yes,  but  also  something  more— Is  it  not  doubtful  whether  our 
guardians  are  to  be  imitators  at  all  ?  Or  rather,  has  not  the  ques- 
tion been  already  answered,  for  we  have  decided  that  one  man 
cannot  in  his  life  play  many  parts,  any  more  than  he  can  act  both  395 
tragedy  and  comedy,  or  be  rhapsodist  and  actor  at  once  ?  Human 
nature  is  coined  into  very  small  pieces,  and  as  our  guardians  have 
their  own  business  already,  which  is  the  care  of  freedom,  they  will 
have  enough  to  do  without  imitating.  If  they  imitate  they  should 
imitate,  not  any  meanness  or  baseness,  but  the  good  only;  for 
the  mask  which  the  actor  wears  is  apt  to  become  his  face. 
We  cannot  allow  men  to  play  the  parts  of  women,  quarrelling, 
weeping,  scolding,  or  boasting  against  the  gods,— least  of  all  when 
making  love  or  in  labour.  They  must  not  represent  slaves,  or 
bullies,  or  cowards,  or  drunkards,  or  madmen,  or  blacksmiths,  or  396 
neighing  horses,  or  bellowing  bulls,  or  sounding  rivers,  or  a 
raging  sea.  A  good  or  wise  man  will  be  willing  to  perform  good 
and  wise  actions,  but  he  will  be  ashamed  to  play  an  inferior  part 
which  he  has  never  practised ;  and  he  will  prefer  to  employ  the 
descriptive  style  with  as  little  imitation  as  possible.  The  man  397 
who  has  no  self-respect,  on  the  contrary,  will  imitate  anybody  and 
anything  ;  sounds  of  nature  and  cries  of  animals  alike  ;  his  whole 
performance  will  be  imitation  of  gesture  and  voice.  Now  in  the 
descriptive  style  there  are  few  changes,  but  in  the  dramatic  there 
are  a  great  many.  Poets  and  musicians  use  either,  or  a  compound 
of  both,  and  this  compound  is  very  attractive  to  youth  and  their 
teachers  as  well  as  to  the  vulgar.  But  our  State  in  which  one  man 
plays  one  part  only  is  not  adapted  for  complexity.  And  when  398 
one  of  these  polyphonous  pantomimic  gentlemen  offers  to  exhibit 

Analysis  398-401.  xliii 

himself  and  his  poetry  we  will  show  him  every  observance  of  Republic 
respect,  but  at  the  same  time  tell  him  that  there  is  no  room  for  his       IH' 


kind  in  our  State  ;  we  prefer  the  rough,  honest  poet,  and  will  not 
depart  from  our  original  models  (ii.  379  foil. ;  cp.  Laws,  vii.  817). 

Next  as  to  the  music.  A  song  or  ode  has  three  parts, — the 
subject,  the  harmony,  and  the  rhythm ;  of  which  the  two  last  are 
dependent  upon  the  first.  As  we  banished  strains  of  lamentation, 
so  we  may  now  banish  the  mixed  Lydian  harmonies,  which  are 
the  harmonies  of  lamentation ;  and  as  our  citizens  are  to  be 
temperate,  we  may  also  banish  convivial  harmonies,  such  as  the 

399  Ionian  and  pure  Lydian.    Two  remain — the  Dorian  and  Phrygian, 
the  first  for  war,  the  second  for  peace  ;    the  one  expressive  of 
courage,  the  other  of  obedience  or  instruction  or  religious  feeling. 
And  as  we  reject  varieties  of  harmony,  we  shall  also  reject  the 
many-stringed,  variously-shaped  instruments  which  give  utterance 
to  them,  and  in  particular  the  flute,  which  is  more  complex  than 
any  of  them.    The  lyre  and  the  harp  may  be  permitted  in  the 
town,  and  the  Pan's-pipe  in  the  fields.      Thus  we  have  made  a 
purgation  of  music,  and  will  now  make  a  purgation  of  metres. 

400  These  should  be  like  the  harmonies,  simple  and  suitable  to  the 
occasion.      There   are   four   notes  of  the  tetrachord,  and    there 
are  three  ratios  of  metre,  f,  f ,  f,  which  have  all  their  charac- 
teristics, and  the  feet  have  different  characteristics  as  well  as  the 
rhythms.     But  about  this  you  and  I  must  ask  Damon,  the  great 
musician,  who  speaks,  if  I  remember  rightly,  of  a  martial  measure 
as  well  as  of  dactylic,  trochaic,  and  iambic  rhythms,  which  he 
arranges  so  as  to  equalize  the  syllables  with  one  another,  assigning 
to  each  the  proper  quantity.    We  only  venture  to  affirm  the 
general  principle  that  the  style  is  to  conform  to  the  subject  and  the 
metre  to  the  style  ;  and  that  the  simplicity  and  harmony  of  the 
soul  should  be  reflected  in  them  all.    This  principle  of  simplicity 
has  to  be  learnt  by  every  one  in  the  days  of  his  youth,  and  may 

401  be  gathered  anywhere,  from  the  creative  and  constructive  arts,  as 
well  as  from  the  forms  of  plants  and  animals. 

Other  artists  as  well  as  poets  should  be  warned  against  mean- 
ness or  unseemliness.  Sculpture  and  painting  equally  with  music 
must  conform  to  the  law  of  simplicity.  He  who  violates  it  cannot 
be  allowed  to  work  in  our  city,  and  to  corrupt  the  taste  of  our 
citizens.  For  our  guardians  must  grow  up,  not  amid  images  of 

xliv  Analysis  401-405. 

Republic  deformity  which  will  gradually  poison  and  corrupt  their  souls, 
ANALYSIS  ^ut  m  a  ^anc*  °^  nea^tn  an<^  beauty  where  they  will  drink  in  from 
every  object  sweet  and  harmonious  influences.  And  of  all  these 
influences  the  greatest  is  the  education  given  by  music,  which 
finds  a  way  into  the  innermost  soul  and  imparts  to  it  the  sense  of  402 
beauty  and  of  deformity.  At  first  the  effect  is  unconscious ;  but 
when  reason  arrives,  then  he  who  has  been  thus  trained  welcomes 
her  as  the  friend  whom  he  always  knew.  As  in  learning  to  read, 
first  we  acquire  the  elements  or  letters  separately,  and  afterwards 
their  combinations,  and  cannot  recognize  reflections  of  them  until 
we  know  the  letters  themselves ; — in  like  manner  we  must  first 
attain  the  elements  or  essential  forms  of  the  virtues,  and  then 
trace  their  combinations  in  life  and  experience.  There  is  a  music 
of  the  soul  which  answers  to  the  harmony  of  the  world  ;  and  the 
fairest  object  of  a  musical  soul  is  the  fair  mind  in  the  fair  body. 
Some  defect  in  the  latter  may  be  excused,  but  not  in  the  formen 
True  love  is  the  daughter  of  temperance,  and  temperance  is  403 
utterly  opposed  to  the  madness  of  bodily  pleasure.  Enough  has 
been  said  of  music,  which  makes  a  fair  ending  with  love. 

Next  we  pass  on  to  gymnastics ;  about  which  I  would  remark, 
that  the  soul  is  related  to  the  body  as  a  cause  to  an  effect,  and 
therefore  if  we  educate  the  mind  we  may  leave  the  education  of 
the  body  in  her  charge,  and  need  only  give  a  general  outline 
of  the  course  to  be  pursued.  In  the  first  place  the  guardians  must 
abstain  from  strong  drink,  for  they  should  be  the  last  persons  to 
lose  their  wits.  Whether  the  habits  of  the  palaestra  are  suitable  404 
to  them  is  more  doubtful,  for  the  ordinary  gymnastic  is  a  sleepy 
sort  of  thing,  and  if  left  off  suddenly  is  apt  to  endanger  health. 
But  our  warrior  athletes  must  be  wide-awake  dogs,  and  must 
also  be  inured  to  all  changes  of  food  and  climate.  Hence  they 
will  require  a  simpler  kind  of  gymnastic,  akin  to  their  simple 
music ;  and  for  their  diet  a  rule  may  be  found  in  Homer,  who 
feeds  his  heroes  on  roast  meat  only,  and  gives  them  no  fish 
although  they  are  living  at  the  sea-side,  nor  boiled  meats  which 
involve  an  apparatus  of  pots  and  pans ;  and,  if  I  am  not  mistaken, 
he  nowhere  mentions  sweet  sauces.  Sicilian  cookery  and  Attic 
confections  and  Corinthian  courtezans,  which  are  to  gymnastic 
what  Lydian  and  Ionian  melodies  are  to  music,  must  be  forbidden. 
Where  gluttony  and  intemperance  prevail  the  town  quickly  fills  405 

Analysis  405-408.  xlv 

with  doctors  and  pleaders  ;  and  law  and  medicine  give  themselves    Republic 
airs  as  soon  as  the  freemen  of  a  State  take  an  interest  in  them. 


But  what  can  show  a  more  disgraceful  state  of  education  than 
to  have  to  go  abroad  for  justice  because  you  have  none  of  your 
own  at  home  ?  And  yet  there  is  a  worse  stage  of  the  same  disease 
— when  men  have  learned  to  take  a  pleasure  and  pride  in  the  twists 
and  turns  of  the  law ;  not  considering  how  much  better  it  would 
be  for  them  so  to  order  their  lives  as  to  have  no  need  of  a  nodding 
justice.  And  there  is  a  like  disgrace  in  employing  a  physician, 
not  for  the  cure  of  wounds  or  epidemic  disorders,  but  because 
a  man  has  by  laziness  and  luxury  contracted  diseases  which  were 
unknown  in  the  days  of  Asclepius.  How  simple  is  the  Homeric 
practice  of  medicine.  Eurypylus  after  he  has  been  wounded 

406  drinks  a  posset  of  Pramnian  wine,  which  is  of  a  heating  nature  ; 
and  yet  the  sons  of  Asclepius  blame  neither  the  damsel  who  gives 
him  the  drink,  nor  Patroclus  who  is  attending  on  him.    The  truth 
is  that  this  modern  system  of  nursing  diseases  was  introduced 
by  Herodicus  the  trainer;    who,  being  of  a  sickly  constitution, 
by  a  compound  of  training  and  medicine  tortured  first  himself  and 
then  a  good  many  other  people,  and  lived  a  great  deal  longer 
than  he  had  any  right.    But  Asclepius  would  not  practise  this  art, 
because  he  knew  that  the  citizens  of  a  well-ordered  State  have 
no  leisure  to  be  ill,  and  therefore  he  adopted  the  '  kill  or  cure ' 
method,  which  artisans  and  labourers  employ.    *  They  must  be  at 
their  business,'  they  say,  '  and  have  no  time  for  coddling  :  if  they 

407  recover,  well ;  if  they  don't,  there  is  an  end  of  them.'    Whereas 
the  rich  man  is  supposed  to  be  a  gentleman  who  can  afford  to  be 
ill.    Do  you  know  a  maxim  of  Phocylides — that  'when  a  man 
begins  to  be  rich '  (or,  perhaps,  a  little  sooner)  '  he  should  practise 
virtue '  ?    But  how  can  excessive  care  of  health  be  inconsistent 
with  an  ordinary  occupation,  and  yet  consistent  with  that  practice 
of  virtue  which  Phocylides  inculcates  ?    When  a  student  imagines 
that  philosophy  gives  him  a  headache,  he  never  does  anything ; 
he  is  always  unwell.    This  was  the  reason  why  Asclepius  and  his 
sons  practised  no  such  art.    They  were  acting  in  the  interest  of 
the  public,  and  did  not  wish  to  preserve  useless  lives,  or  raise  up 
a  puny  offspring  to  wretched  sires.    Honest  diseases  they  honestly 

408  cured ;    and  if  a  man  was  wounded,  they  applied  the  proper 
remedies,  and  then  let  him  eat  and  drink  what  he  liked.     But 

xlvi  Analysis  408-411. 

Republic   they  declined  to  treat  intemperate  and  worthless  subjects,  even 


7//*       though  they  might  have  made  large  fortunes  out  of  them.    As  to 

the  story  of  Pindar,  that  Asclepius  was  slain  by  a  thunderbolt  for 
restoring  a  rich  man  to  life,  that  is  a  lie — following  our  old  rule  we 
must  say  either  that  he  did  not  take  bribes,  or  that  he  was  not  the 
son  of  a  god. 

Glaucon  then  asks  Socrates  whether  the  best  physicians  and  the 
best  judges  will  not  be  those  who  have  had  severally  the  greatest 
experience  of  diseases  and  of  crimes.  Socrates  draws  a  distinction 
between  the  two  professions.  The  physician  should  have  had 
experience  of  disease  in  his  own  body,  for  he  cures  with  his  mind 
and  not  with  his  body.  But  the  judge  controls  mind  by  mind ;  409 
and  therefore  his  mind  should  not  be  corrupted  by  crime.  Where 
then  is  he  to  gain  experience  ?  How  is  he  to  be  wise  and  also 
innocent  ?  When  young  a  good  man  is  apt  to  be  deceived  by 
evil-doers,  because  he  has  no  pattern  of  evil  in  himself;  and 
therefore  the  judge  should  be  of  a  certain  age;  his  youth 
should  have  been  innocent,  and  he  should  have  acquired  insight 
into  evil  not  by  the  practice  of  it,  but  by  the  observation  of  it  in 
others.  This  is  the  ideal  of  a  judge  ;  the  criminal  turned  detective 
is  wonderfully  suspicious,  but  when  in  company  with  good  men 
who  have  experience,  he  is  at  fault,  for  he  foolishly  imagines 
that  every  one  is  as  bad  as  himself.  Vice  may  be  known  of  virtue, 
but  cannot  know  virtue.  This  is  the  sort  of  medicine  and  this  the 
sort  of  law  which  will  prevail  in  our  State  ;  they  will  be  healing 
arts  to  better  natures ;  but  the  evil  body  will  be  left  to  die  by  the  410 
one,  and  the  evil  soul  will  be  put  to  death  by  the  other.  And  the 
need  of  either  will  be  greatly  diminished  by  good  music  which 
will  give  harmony  to  the  soul,  and  good  gymnastic  which  will  give 
health  to  the  body.  Not  that  this  division  of  music  and  gymnastic 
really  corresponds  to  soul  and  body ;  for  they  are  both  equally 
concerned  with  the  soul,  which  is  tamed  by  the  one  and  aroused 
and  sustained  by  the  other.  The  two  together  supply  our  guardians 
with  their  twofold  nature.  The  passionate  disposition  when  it  has 
too  much  gymnastic  is  hardened  and  brutalized,  the  gentle  or 
philosophic  temper  which  has  too  much  music  becomes  enervated. 
While  a  man  is  allowing  music  to  pour  like  water  through  the  411 
funnel  of  his  ears,  the  edge  of  his  soul  gradually  wears  away,  and 
the  passionate  or  spirited  element  is  melted  out  of  him.  Too  little 

Analysis  411-414.  xlvii 

spirit  is  easily  exhausted ;   too  much  quickly  passes  into  nervous    Republic 
irritability.     So,  again,  the  athlete  by  feeding  and  training  has 


his  courage  doubled,  but  he  soon  grows  stupid ;  he  is  like  a  wild 
beast,  ready  to  do  everything  by  blows  and  nothing  by  counsel 
or  policy.  There  are  two  principles  in  man,  reason  and  passion, 

412  and  to  these,  not  to  the  soul  and  body,  the  two  arts  of  music 
and  gymnastic  correspond.    He  who  mingles  them  in  harmonious 
concord  is  the  true  musician, — he  shall  be  the  presiding  genius  of 
our  State. 

The  next  question  is,  Who  are  to  be  our  rulers?  First,  the 
elder  must  rule  the  younger;  and  the  best  of  the  elders  will 
be  the  best  guardians.  Now  they  will  be  the  best  who  love  their 
subjects  most,  and  think  that  they  have  a  common  interest  with 
them  in  the  welfare  of  the  state.  These  we  must  select;  but 
they  must  be  watched  at  every  epoch  of  life  to  see  whether 
they  have  retained  the  same  opinions  and  held  out  against  force 

413  and  enchantment.      For  time  and   persuasion  and  the  love  of 
pleasure  may  enchant  a  man  into  a  change  of  purpose,  and  the 
force  of  grief  and  pain  may  compel  him.     And  therefore  our 
guardians  must  be  men  who  have  been  tried  by  many  tests, 
like  gold  in  the  refiner's  fire,  and  have  been  passed  first  through 
danger,  then    through  pleasure,  and  at  every  age   have  come 
out  of  such  trials  victorious  and  without  stain,  in  full  command 
of  themselves  and  their  principles ;    having   all   their  faculties 
in  harmonious  exercise  for  their  country's  good.     These  shall 

414  receive  the  highest  honours  both  in  life  and  death.    (It  would 
perhaps  be  better  to  confine  the  term  ' guardians'  to  this  select 
class :  the  younger  men  may  be  called  '  auxiliaries.') 

And  now  for  one  magnificent  lie,  in  the  belief  of  which,  Oh  that 
we  could  train  our  rulers !— at  any  rate  let  us  make  the  attempt 
with  the  rest  of  the  world.  What  I  am  going  to  tell  is  only  a 
another  version  of  the  legend  of  Cadmus ;  but  our  unbelieving 
generation  will  be  slow  to  accept  such  a  story.  The  tale  must 
be  imparted,  first  to  the  rulers,  then  to  the  soldiers,  lastly  to 
the  people.  We  will  inform  them  that  their  youth  was  a  dream, 
and  that  during  the  time  when  they  seemed  to  be  undergoing 
their  education  they  were  really  being  fashioned  in  the  earth, 
who  sent  them  up  when  they  were  ready;  and  that  they  must 
protect  and  cherish  her  -whose  children  they  are,  and  regard 

xlviii  Analysis  414-417. 

Republic   each  other  as  brothers  and  sisters.    '  I  do  not  wonder  at  your 
ANALYSIS     ^einS  ashamed    to    propound    such  a  fiction.'      There  is  more 

behind.  These  brothers  and  sisters  have  different  natures,  and  415 
some  of  them  God  framed  to  rule,  whom  he  fashioned  of  gold ; 
others  he  made  of  silver,  to  be  auxiliaries ;  others  again  to  be 
husbandmen  and  craftsmen,  and  these  were  formed  by  him  of 
brass  and  iron.  But  as  they  are  all  sprung  from  a  common  stock, 
a  golden  parent  may  have  a  silver  son,  or  a  silver  parent  a  golden 
son,  and  then  there  must  be  a  change  of  rank ;  the  son  of  the 
rich  must  descend,  and  the  child  of  the  artisan  rise,  in  the  social 
scale ;  for  an  oracle  says  '  that  the  State  will  come  to  an  end  if 
governed  by  a  man  of  brass  or  iron.'  Will  our  citizens  ever 
believe  all  this  ?  '  Not  in  the  present  generation,  but  in  the  next, 
perhaps,  Yes.' 

Now  let  the  earthborn  men  go  forth  under  the  command  of 
their  rulers,  and  look  about  and  pitch  their  camp  in  a  high  place, 
which  will  be  safe  against  enemies  from  without,  and  likewise 
against  insurrections*  from  within.  There  let  them  sacrifice  and 
set  up  their  tents;  for  soldiers  they  are  to  be  and  not  shop- 416 
keepers,  the  watchdogs  and  guardians  of  the  sheep  ;  and  luxury 
and  avarice  will  turn  them  into  wolves  and  tyrants.  Their  habits 
and  their  dwellings  should  correspond  to  their  education.  They 
should  have  no  property;  their  pay  should  only  meet  their 
expenses;  and  they  should  have  common  meals.  Gold  and 
silver  we  will  tell  them  that  they  have  from  God,  and  this  divine 
gift  in  their  souls  they  must  not  alloy  with  that  earthly  dross  417 
which  passes  under  the  name  of  gold.  They  only  of  the  citizens 
may  not  touch  it,  or  be  under  the  same  roof  with  it,  or  drink 
from  it ;  it  is  the  accursed  thing.  Should  they  ever  acquire 
houses  or  lands  or  money  of  their  own,  they  will  become  house- 
holders and  tradesmen  instead  of  guardians,  enemies  and  tyrants 
instead  of  helpers,  and  the  hour  of  ruin,  both  to  themselves  and 
the  rest  of  the  State,  will  be  at  hand. 


INTRODUC-  The  religious  and  ethical  aspect  of  Plato's  education  will  here- 
after be  considered  under  a  separate  head.  Some  lesser  points 
may  be  more  conveniently  noticed  in  this  place. 

i.  The  constant  appeal  to  the  authority  of  Homer,  whom,  with 
grave  irony,  Plato,  after  the  manner  of  his  age,  summons  as  a 

Plato  s  employment  of  Homer.  xlix 

witness  about  ethics  and  psychology,  as  well  as  about  diet  and  Republic 
medicine ;  attempting  to  distinguish  the  better  lesson  from  the 
worse  (390),  sometimes  altering  the  text  from  design  (388,  and,  TICK. 
perhaps,  389) ;  more  than  once  quoting  or  alluding  to  Homer 
inaccurately  (391, 406),  after  the  manner  of  the  early  logographers 
turning  the  Iliad  into  prose  (393),  and  delighting  to  draw  far- 
fetched inferences  from  his  words,  or  to  make  ludicrous  appli- 
cations of  them.  He  does  not,  like  Heracleitus,  get  into  a  rage  with 
Homer  and  Archilochus  (Heracl.  Frag.  119,  ed.  Bywater),  but  uses 
their  words  and  expressions  as  vehicles  of  a  higher  truth ;  not  on 
a  system  like  Theagenes  of  Rhegium  or  Metrodorus,  or  in  later 
times  the  Stoics,  but  as  fancy  may  dictate.  And  the  conclusions 
drawn  from  them  are  sound,  although  the  premises  are  fictitious. 
These  fanciful  appeals  to  Homer  add  a  charm  to  Plato's  style, 
and  at  the  same  time  they  have  the  effect  of  a  satire  on  the 
follies  of  Homeric  interpretation.  To  us  (and  probably  to  him- 
self), although  they  take  the  form  of  arguments,  they  are  really 
figures  of  speech.  They  may  be  compared  with  modern  citations 
from  Scripture,  which  have  often  a  great  rhetorical  power  even 
when  the  original  meaning  of  the  words  is  entirely  lost  sight  of. 
The  real,  like  the  Platonic  Socrates,  as  we  gather  from  the  Me- 
morabilia of  Xenophon,  was  fond  of  making  similar  adaptations 
(i.  2,  58;  ii.  6,  n).  Great  in  all  ages  and  countries,  in  religion  as 
well  as  in  law  and  literature,  has  been  the  art  of  interpretation. 

2.  'The  style  is  to  conform  to  the  subject  and  the  metre  to  the 
style.'  Notwithstanding  the  fascination  which  the  word  'classical* 
exercises  over  us,  we  can  hardly  maintain  that  this  rule  is 
observed  in  all  the  Greek  poetry  which  has  come  down  to  us. 
We  cannot  deny  that  the  thought  often  exceeds  the  power  of 
lucid  expression  in  ^Eschylus  and  Pindar ;  or  that  rhetoric  gets 
the  better  of  the  thought  in  the  Sophist-poet  Euripides.  Only 
perhaps  in  Sophocles  is  there  a  perfect  harmony  of  the  two ; 
in  him  alone  do  we  find  a  grace  of  language  like  the  beauty  of  a 
Greek  statue,  in  which  there  is  nothing  to  add  or  to  take  away ; 
at  least  this  is  true  of  single  plays  or  of  large  portions  of  them. 
The  connection  in  the  Tragic  Choruses  and  in  the  Greek  lyric  poets 
is  not  unfrequently  a  tangled  thread  which  in  an  age  before  logic 
the  poet  was  unable  to  draw  out.  Many  thoughts  and  feelings 
mingled  in  his  mind,  and  he  had  no  power  of  disengaging  or 


1  Style  and  subject  in  Poetry. 

Republic  arranging  them.  For  there  is  a  subtle  influence  of  logic  which 
re<luires  to  ke  transferred  from  prose  to  poetry,  just  as  the  music 
and  perfection  of  language  are  infused  by  poetry  into  prose.  In 
all  ages  the  poet  has  been  a  bad  judge  of  his  own  meaning 
(Apol.  22  B) ;  for  he  does  not  see  that  the  word  which  is  full  of 
associations  to  his  own  mind  is  difficult  and  unmeaning  to  that 
of  another;  or  that  the  sequence  which  is  clear  to  himself  is 
puzzling  to  others.  There  are  many  passages  in  some  of  our 
greatest  modern  poets  which  are  far  too  obscure ;  in  which  there 
is  no  proportion  between  style  and  subject;  in  which  any  half- 
expressed  figure,  any  harsh  construction,  any  distorted  collo- 
cation of  words,  any  remote  sequence  of  ideas  is  admitted  ;  and 
there  is  no  voice  '  coming  sweetly  from  nature,'  or  music  adding 
the  expression  of  feeling  to  thought.  As  if  there  could  be  poetry 
without  beauty,  or  beauty  without  ease  and  clearness.  The 
obscurities  of  early  Greek  poets  arose  necessarily  out  of  the  state 
of  language  and  logic  which  existed  in  their  age.  They  are  not 
examples  to  be  followed  by  us ;  for  the  use  of  language  ought 
in  every  generation  to  become  clearer  and  clearer.  Like  Shake- 
spere,  they  were  great  in  spite,  not  in  consequence,  of  their 
imperfections  of  expression.  But  there  is  no  reason  for  returning 
to  the  necessary  obscurity  which  prevailed  in  the  infancy  of 
literature.  The  English  poets  of  the  last  century  were  certainly 
not  obscure ;  and  we  have  no  excuse  for  losing  what  they  had 
gained,  or  for  going  back  to  the  earlier  or  transitional  age  which 
preceded  them.  The  thought  of  our  own  times  has  not  out- 
stripped language ;  a  want  of  Plato's  '  art  of  measuring '  is  the 
real  cause  of  the  disproportion  between  them. 

3.  In  the  third  book  of  the  Republic  a  nearer  approach  is  made 
to  a  theory  of  art  than  anywhere  else  in  Plato.  His  views  may 
be  summed  up  as  follows  :— True  art  is  not  fanciful  and  imitative, 
but  simple  and  ideal,— the  expression  of  the  highest  moral 
energy,  whether  in  action  or  repose.  To  live  among  works  of 
plastic  art  which  are  of  this  noble  and  simple  character,  or  to 
listen  to  such  strains,  is  the  best  of  influences, — the  true  Greek 
atmosphere,  in  which  youth  should  be  brought  up.  That  is  the 
way  to  create  in  them  a  natural  good  taste,  which  will  have  a 
feeling  of  truth  and  beauty  in  all  things.  For  though  the  poets 
are  to  be  expelled,  still  art  is  recognized  as  another  aspect  of 

Plato  s  theory  of  Art.  li 

reason — like  love  in  the  Symposium,  extending  over  the  same    Republic 
sphere,  but  confined  to  the   preliminary  education,  and  acting   IN^'UC 
through  the  power  of  habit  (vii.  522  A) ;   and  this  conception  of      tl°*!- 
art  is  not  limited  to  strains  of  music  or  the  forms  of  plastic  art, 
but  pervades  all  nature  and  has  a  wide  kindred  in  the  world.   The 
Republic  of  Plato,  like  the  Athens  of  Pericles,  has  an  artistic  as 
well  as  a  political  side. 

There  is  hardly  any  mention  in  Plato  of  the  creative  arts ;  only 
in  two  or  three  passages  does  he  even  allude  to  them  (cp. 
Rep.  iv.  420;  Soph.  236  A).  He  is  not  lost  in  rapture  at  the 
great  works  of  Phidias,  the  Parthenon,  the  Propylea,  the 
statues  of  Zeus  or  Athene.  He  would  probably  have  regarded 
any  abstract  truth  of  number  or  figure  (529  E)  as  higher  than 
the  greatest  of  them.  Yet  it  is  hard  to  suppose  that  some  in- 
fluence, such  as  he  hopes  to  inspire  in  youth,  did  not  pass  into 
his  own  mind  from  the  works  of  art  which  he  saw  around  him. 
We  are  living  upon  the  fragments  of  them,  and  find  in  a  few 
broken  stones  the  standard  of  truth  and  beauty.  But  in  Plato 
this  feeling  has  no  expression ;  he  nowhere  says  that  beauty  is 
the  object  of  art ;  he  seems  to  deny  that  wisdom  can  take  an 
external  form  (Phaedrus,  250  E) ;  he  does  not  distinguish  the 
fine  from  the  mechanical  arts.  Whether  or  no,  like  sortie  writers, 
he  felt  more  than  he  expressed,  it  is  at  any  rate  remarkable 
that  the  greatest  perfection  of  the  fine  arts  should  coincide 
with  an  almost  entire  silence  about  them.  In  one  very  striking 
passage  (iv.  420)  he  tells  us  that  a  work  of  art,  like  the  State,  is 
a  whole ;  and  this  conception  of  a  whole  and  the  love  of  the 
newly-born  mathematical  sciences  may  be  regarded,  if  not  as 
the  inspiring,  at  any  rate  as  the  regulating  principles  of  Greek 
art  (cp.  Xen.  Mem.  iii.  10.  6 ;  and  Sophist,  235,  236). 

4.  Plato  makes  the  true  and  subtle  remark  that  the  physician 
had  better  not  be  in  robust  health  ;  and  should  have  known  what 
illness  is  in  his  own  person.  But  the  judge  ought  to  have  had  no 
similar  experience  of  evil ;  he  is  to  be  a  good  man  who,  having 
passed  his  youth  in  innocence^  became  acquainted  late  in  life 
with  the  vices  of  others.  And  therefore,  according  to  Plato,  a 
judge  should  not  be  young,  just  as  a  young  man  according  to 
Aristotle  is  not  fit  to  be  a  hearer  of  moral  philosophy.  The 
bad,  on  the  other  hand,  have  a  knowledge  of  vice,  but  no  know- 

e  2 

Hi  The  transposition  of  ranks. 

Republic   ledge  of  virtue.    It  may  be  doubted,  however,  whether  this  train 
In-       of  reflection  is  well  founded.     In  a  remarkable  passage  of  the 

TION.      Laws  (xii.  950  B)  it  is  acknowledged  that  the  evil  may  form  a 

correct  estimate  of  the  good.  The  union  of  gentleness  and 
courage  in  Book  ii.  at  first  seemed  to  be  a  paradox,  yet  was 
afterwards  ascertained  to  be  a  truth.  And  Plato  might  also  have 
found  that  the  intuition  of  evil  may  be  consistent  with  the 
abhorrence  of  it  (cp.  infra,  ix.  582).  There  is  a  directness  of  aim 
in  virtue  which  gives  an  insight  into  vice.  And  the  knowledge 
of  character  is  in  some  degree  a  natural  sense  independent  of 
any  special  experience  of  good  or  evil. 

5.  One  of  the  most  remarkable  conceptions  of  Plato,  because 
un-Greek  and  also  very  different  from  anything  which  existed 
at  all  in  his  age  of  the  wojld,  is  the  transposition  of  ranks.  In  the 
Spartan  state  there  had  been  enfranchisement  qf  Helots  and 
degradation  of  citizens  under  special  circumstances.  And  in  the 
ancient  Greek  aristocracies,  merit  was  certainly  recognized  as  one 
of  the  elements  on  which  government  was  based.  The  founders 
of  states  were  supposed  to  be  their  benefactors,  who  were  raised 
by  their  great  actions  above  the  ordinary  level  of  humanity ;  at 
a  later  period,  the  services  of  warriors  and  legislators  were  held  to 
entitle  them  and  their  descendants  to  the  privileges  of  citizenship 
and  to  the  first  rank  in  the  state.  And  although  the  existence 
of  an  ideal  aristocracy  is  slenderly  proven  from  the  remains  of 
early  Greek  history,  and  we  have  a  difficulty  in  ascribing  such 
a  character,  however  the  idea  may  be  defined,  to  any  actual 
Hellenic  state — or  indeed  to  any  state  which  has  ever  existed 
in  the  world — still  the  rule  of  the  best  was  certainly  the  aspira- 
tion of  philosophers,  who  probably  accommodated  a  good  deal 
their  views  of  primitive  history  to  their  own  notions  of  good 
government.  Plato  further  insists  on  applying  to  the  guardians 
of  his  state  a  series  of  tests  by  which  all  those  who  fell  short 
of  a  fixed  standard  were  either  removed  from  the  governing 
body,  or  not  admitted  to  it ;  and  this  '  academic '  discipline  did 
to  a  certain  extent  prevail  in  Greek  states,  especially  in  Sparta. 
He  also  indicates  that  the  system  of  caste,  which  existed  in  a 
great  part  of  the  ancient,  and  is  by  no  means  extinct  in  the 
modern  European  world,  should  be  set  aside  from  time  to  time  in 
favour  of  merit.  He  is  aware  how  deeply  the  greater  part  of 

The  power  of  music.  liii 

mankind  resent  any  interference  with  the  order  of  society,  and    Republic 
therefore  he  proposes  his  novel  idea  in  the  form  of  what  he    , 


himself  calls  a  *  monstrous  fiction.'  (Compare  the  ceremony  of  TION- 
preparation  for  the  two  '  great  waves '  in  Book  v.)  Two  principles 
are  indicated  by  him :  first,  that  there  is  a  distinction  of  ranks 
dependent  on  circumstances  prior  to  the  individual :  second,  that 
this  distinction  is  and  ought  to  be  broken  through  by  personal 
qualities.  He  adapts  mythology  like  the  Homeric  poems  to  the 
wants  of  the  state,  making  'the  Phoenician  tale'  the  vehicle 
of  his  ideas.  Every  Greek  state  had  a  myth  respecting  its  own 
origin ;  the  Platonic  republic  may  also  have  a  tale  of  earthborn 
men.  The  gravity  and  verisimilitude  with  which  the  tale  is  told, 
and  the  analogy  of  Greek  tradition,  are  a  sufficient  verification 
of  the  '  monstrous  falsehood.'  Ancient  poetry  had  spoken  of  a 
gold  and  silver  and  brass  and  iron  age  succeeding  one  another, 
but  Plato  supposes  these  differences  in  the  natures  of  men  to 
exist  together  in  a  single  state.  Mythology  supplies  a  figure 
under  which  the  lesson  may  be  taught  (as  Protagoras  says, 
*  the  myth  is  more  interesting '),  and  also  enables  Plato  to  touch 
lightly  on  new  principles  without  going  into  details.  In  this 
passage  he  shadows  forth  a  general  truth,  but  he  does  not  tell 
us  by  what  steps  the  transposition  of  ranks  is  to  be  effected. 
Indeed  throughout  the  Republic  he  allows  the  lower  ranks  to 
fade  into  the  distance.  We  do  not  know  whether  they  are  to 
carry  arms,  and  whether  in  the  fifth  book  they  are  or  are  not 
included  in  the  communistic  regulations  respecting  property 
and  marriage.  Nor  is  there  any  use  in  arguing  strictly  either 
from  a  few  chance  words,  or  from  the  silence  of  Plato,  or 
in  drawing  inferences  which  were  beyond  his  vision.  Aris- 
totle, in  his  criticism  on  the  position  of  the  lower  classes,  does 
not  perceive  that  the  poetical  creation  is  'like  the  air,  invulner- 
able,' and  cannot  be  penetrated  by  the  shafts  of  his  logic  (Pol.  2, 
5,  18  foil.). 

6.  Two  paradoxes  which  strike  the  modern  reader  as  in  the 
highest  degree  fanciful  and  ideal,  and  which  suggest  to  him 
many  reflections,  are  to  be  found  in  the  third  book  of  the  Re- 
public :  first,  the  great  power  of  music,  so  much  beyond  any 
influence  which  is  experienced  by  us  in  modern  times,  when 
the  art  or  science  has  been  far  more  developed,  and  has  found 

liv  Relation  of  mind  and  body. 

Republic  the  secret  of  harmony,  as  well  as  of  melody ;  secondly,  the 
i  TR  D  indefinite  and  almost  absolute  control  which  the  soul  is  supposed 
to  exercise  over  the  body. 

In  the  first  we  suspect  some  degree  of  exaggeration,  such  as 
we  may  also  observe  among  certain  masters  of  the  art,  not 
unknown  to  us,  at  the  present  day.  With  this  natural  enthu- 
siasm, which  is  felt  by  a  few  only,  there  seems  to  mingle  in 
Plato  a  sort  of  Pythagorean  reverence  for  numbers  and  numerical 
proportion  to  which  Aristotle  is  a  stranger.  Intervals  of  sound 
and  number  are  to  him  sacred  things  which  have  a  law  of  their 
own,  not  dependent  on  the  variations  of  sense.  They  rise  above 
sense,  and  become  a  connecting  link  with  the  world  of  ideas. 
But  it  is  evident  that  Plato  is  describing  what  to  him  appears 
to  be  also  a  fact.  The  power  of  a  simple  and  characteristic 
melody  on  the  impressible  mind  of  the  Greek  is  more  than 
we  can  easily  appreciate.  The  effect  of  national  airs  may  bear 
some  comparison  with  it.  And,  besides  all  this,  there  is  a 
confusion  between  the  harmony  of  musical  notes  and  the  har- 
mony of  soul  and  body,  which  is  so  potently  inspired  by  them. 

The  second  paradox  leads  up  to  some  curious  and  in- 
teresting questions— How  far  can  the  mind  control  the  body? 
Is  the  relation  between  them  one  of  mutual  antagonism  or  of 
mutual  harmony  ?  Are  they  two  or  one,  and  is  either  of  them 
the  cause  of  the  other  ?  May  we  not  at  times  drop  the  opposition 
between  them,  and  the  mode  of  describing  them,  which  is  so 
familiar  to  us,  arid  yet  hardly  conveys  any  precise  meaning,  and  try 
to  view  this  composite  creature,  man,  in  a  more  simple  manner  ? 
Must  we  not  at  any  rate  admit  that  there  is  in  human  nature  a 
higher  and  a  lower  principle,  divided  by  no  distinct  line,  which  at 
times  break  asunder  and  take  up  arms  against  one  another  ?  Or 
again,  they  are  reconciled  and  move  together,  either  unconsciously 
in  the  ordinary  work  of  life,  or  consciously  in  the  pursuit  of  some 
noble  aim,  to  be  attained  not  without  an  effort,  and  for  which 
every  thought  and  nerve  are  strained.  And  then  the  body  be- 
comes the  good  friend  or  ally,  or  servant  or  instrument  of  the 
mind.  And  the  mind  has  often  a  wonderful  and  almost  super- 
human power  of  banishing  disease  and  weakness  and  calling  out 
a  hidden  strength.  Reason  and  the  desires,  the  intellect  and  the 
senses  are  brought  into  harmony  and  obedience  so  as  to  form  a 

The  management  of  health.  Iv 

single  human  being.    They  are  ever  parting,  ever  meeting ;  and   Republic 
the  identity  or  diversity  of  their  tendencies  or  operations  is  for    lNTROpUC. 
the  most  part  unnoticed  by  us.    When  the  mind  touches  the  body      TION- 
through  the  appetites,  we  acknowledge  the  responsibility  of  the 
one  to  the  other.    There  is  a  tendency  in  us  which  says  '  Drink.' 
There  is  another  which  says,  *  Do  not  drink ;  it  is  not  good  for 
you.'    And  we  all  of  us  know  which  is  the  rightful  superior.    We 
are  also  responsible  for  our  health,  although  into  this  sphere  there 
enter  some  elements  of  necessity  which  maybe  beyond  our  control. 
Still  even  in  the  management  of  health,  care  and  thought,  continued 
over  many  years,  may  make  us  almost  free  agents,  if  we  do  not 
exact  too  much  of  ourselves,  and  if  we  acknowledge  that  all 
human  freedom  is  limited  by  the  laws  of  nature  and  of  mind. 

We  are  disappointed  to  find  that  Plato,  in  the  general  con- 
demnation which  he  passes  on  the  practice  of  medicine  prevailing 
in  his  own  day,  depreciates  the  effects  of  diet.  He  would  like 
to  have  diseases  of  a  definite  character  and  capable  of  receiving 
a  definite  treatment.  He  is  afraid  of  invalidism  interfering  with 
the  business  of  life.  He  does  not  recognize  that  time  is  the 
great  healer  both  of  mental  and  bodily  disorders;  and  that 
remedies  which  are  gradual  and  proceed  little  by  little  are  safer 
than  those  which  produce  a  sudden  catastrophe.  Neither -does 
he  see  that  there  is  no  way  in  which  the  mind  can  more 
surely  influence  the  body  than  by  the  control  of  eating  and 
drinking;  or  any  other  action  or  occasion  of  human  life  on 
which  the  higher  freedom  of  the  will  can  be  more  simply  or 
truly  asserted. 

7.  Lesser  matters  of  style  may  be  remarked,  (i)  The  affected 
ignorance  of  music,  which  is  Plato's  way  of  expressing  that 
he  is  passing  lightly  over  the  subject.  (2)  The  tentative  manner 
in  which  here,  as  in  the  second  book,  he  proceeds  with  the 
construction  of  the  State.  (3)  The  description  of  the  State  some- 
times as  a  reality  (389  D ;  416  B),  and  then  again  as  a  work  of 
imagination  only  (cp.  534  C  ;  592  B) ;  these  are  the  arts  by  which 
he  sustains  the  reader's  interest.  (4)  Connecting  links  (e.  g. 
408  C  with  379),  or  the  preparation  (394  D)  for  the  entire  ex- 
pulsion of  the  poets  in  Book  x.  (5)  The  companion  pictures 
of  the  lover  of  litigation  and  the  valetudinarian  (405),  the  satirical 
jest  about  the  maxim  of  Phocylides  (407),  the  manner  in  which 

Ivi  Analysis  419-422. 

Republic   the  image  of  the  gold   and  silver  citizens  is  taken  up  into  the 

subject  (4l6  ^)»  and  tne  argument  fr°m  the  practice  of  Asclepius 
(407),  should  not  escape  notice. 

ANALYSIS.       BOOK  IV.    Adeimantus  said  :  '  Suppose  a  person  to  argue,  Step] 
Socrates,  that  you  make  your  citizens  miserable,  and  this  by    4I^ 
their  own  free-will  ;  they  are  the  lords  of  the  city,  and  yet  in- 
stead of  having,  like  other  men,  lands   and  houses  and  money 
of  their  own,  they  live  as  mercenaries  and  are  always  mounting 
guard.'    You  may  add,  I  replied,  that  they  receive  no  pay  but  420 
only  their  food,  and  have  no  money  to  spend  on  a  journey  or  a 
mistress.    '  Well,  and  what  answer  do  you  give  ?  '    My  answer  is, 
that  our  guardians  may  or  may  not  be  the  happiest  of  men,—  I 
should  not  be  surprised  to  find  in  the  long-run  that  they  were, 
—  but  this  is  not  the  aim  of  our  constitution,   which  was    de- 
signed for  the  good  of  the  whole  and  not  of  any  one  part.    If 
I  went  to   a  sculptor  and  blamed   him  for  having  painted  the 
eye,  which  is  the  noblest  feature  of  the  face,   not  purple  but 
black,  he  would  reply  :    '  The  eye  must  be  an  eye,  and  you 
should  look  at  the  statue  as  a  whole.'    *  Now  I  can  well  imagine 
a  fool's  paradise,  in  which  everybody  is  eating  and   drinking, 
clothed  in  purple  and  fine  linen,  and  potters  lie  on  sofas  and 
have  their  wheel  at  hand,  that  they  may  work  a  little  when 
they  please  ;  and  cobblers  and  all  the  other  classes  of  a  State  421 
lose  their  distinctive  character.     And  a  State  may  get  on  with- 
out   cobblers  ;    but  when  the    guardians    degenerate  into  boon 
companions,  then  the  ruin  is  complete.      Remember   that  we 
are  not  talking  of  peasants  keeping  holiday,  but  of  a  State  in 
which  every  man  is  expected  to  do  his  own  work.    The  hap- 
piness resides  not  in  this  or  that  class,  but  in  the  State  as  a 
whole.      I    have    another    remark   to    make  :—  A    middle    con- 
dition  is   best   for   artisans;    they  should   have  money  enough 
to  buy  tools,  and  not  enough  to  be  independent  of  business. 
And  will  not  the  same  condition  be  best  for  our  citizens  ?    If  422 
they  are  poor,  they  will  be  mean  ;  if  rich,  luxurious  and  lazy  ; 
and  in  neither  case  contented.      '  But  then  how  will  our  poor 
city  be  able  to  go  to  war  against  an  enemy  who  has  money  ?  ' 
There  may  be  a  difficulty  in  fighting  against  one  enemy  ;  against 
two  there  will  be  none.    In  the  first  place,  the  contest  will  be 

Analysis  422-425.  Ivii 

carried  on  by  trained  warriors  against  well-to-do  citizens  :   and    Republic 



is  not  a  regular  athlete  an  easy  match  for  two  stout  opponents 

at  least  ?  Suppose  also,  that  before  engaging  we  send  ambas- 
sadors to  one  of  the  two  cities,  saying,  '  Silver  and  gold  we 
have  not ;  do  you  help  us  and  take  our  share  of  the  spoil ; ' — 
who  would  fight  against  the  lean,  wiry  dogs,  when  they  might  join 
with  them  in  preying  upon  the  fatted  sheep  ?  '  But  if  many  states 
join  their  resources,  shall  we  not  be  in  danger  ? '  I  am  amused 
to  hear  you  use  the  word  'state'  of  any  but  our  own  State. 

423  They  are  '  states,'  but  not  '  a  state  '—many  in  one.    For  in  every 
state  there  are  two  hostile  nations,  rich  and  poor,  which  you 
may  set  one  against  the  other.    But  our  State,  while  she  remains 
true  to  her  principles,  will  be  in  very  deed  the  mightiest  of 
Hellenic  states. 

To  the  size  of  the  state  there  is  no  limit  but  the  necessity  of 
unity ;  it  must  be  neither  too  large  nor  too  small  to  be  one.  This 
is  a  matter  of  secondary  importance,  like  the  principle  of  trans- 
position which  was  intimated  in  the  parable  of  the  earthborn  men. 
The  meaning  there  implied  was  that  every  man  should  do  that 
for  which  he  was  fitted,  and  be  at  one  with  himself,  and  then  the 
whole  city  would  be  united.  But  all  these  things  are  secondary, 

424  if  education,  which  is  the  great  matter,  be  duly  regarded.    When 
the  wheel  has  once  been  set  in  motion,  the  speed  is  always  in- 
creasing ;    and  each  generation   improves  upon  the  preceding, 
both  in  physical  and  moral  qualities.    The  care  of  the  governors 
should  be  directed  to  preserve  music  and  gymnastic  from  inno- 
vation ;  alter  the  songs  of  a  country,  Damon  says,  and  you  will 
soon  end  by  altering  its  laws.    The  change  appears  innocent  at 
first,  and  begins  in  play;    but  the  evil  soon  becomes  serious, 
working  secretly  upon  the  characters  of  individuals,  then  upon 
social  and  commercial  relations,  and  lastly  upon  the  institutions 

425  of  a  state  ;   and  there  is  ruin  and  confusion  everywhere.    But  if 
education  remains    in    the    established    form,  there  will  be  no 
danger.     A  restorative  process  will  be  always  going  on;   the 
spirit  of  law  and  order  will  raise  up  what  has  fallen  down.    Nor 
will  any  regulations  be  needed  for  the  lesser  matters  of  life — rules 
of  deportment  or  fashions  of  dress.     Like  invites  like  for  good 
or  for  evil.    Education  will  correct  deficiencies  and  supply  the 
power  of  self-government.    Far  be  it  from  us  to  enter  into  the 

Iviii  Analysis  425-427. 

Republic   particulars  of  legislation ;  let  the  guardians  take  care  of  education, 

ANALYSIS.    anc*  e^ucat^on  w^  ta^e  care  of  all  other  things. 

But  without  education  they  may  patch  and  mend  as  they  please ; 
they  will  make  no  progress,  any  more  than  a  patient  who  thinks 
to  cure  himself  by  some  favourite  remedy  and  will  not  give  up 
his  luxurious  mode  of  living.  If  you  tell  such  persons  that  they  426 
must  first  alter  their  habits,  then  they  grow  angry;  they  are 
charming  people.  *  Charming, — nay,  the  very  reverse.'  Evi- 
dently these  gentlemen  are  not  in  your  good  graces,  nor  the 
state  which  is  like  them.  And  such  states  there  are  which  first 
ordain  under  penalty  of  death  that  no  one  shall  alter  the  con- 
stitution, and  then  suffer  themselves  to  be  flattered  into  and 
out  of  anything ;  and  he  who  indulges  them  and  fawns  upon  them, 
is  their  leader  and  saviour.  'Yes,  the  men  are  as  bad  as  the 
states.'  But  do  you  not  admire  their  cleverness  ?  *  Nay,  some 
of  them  are  stupid  enough  to  believe  what  the  people  tell  them.' 
And  when  all  the  world  is  telling  a  man  that  he  is  six  feet 
high,  and  he  has  no  measure,  how  can  he  believe  anything  else  ? 
But  don't  get  into  a  passion :  to  see  our  statesmen  trying  their 
nostrums,  and  fancying  that  they  can  cut  off  at  a  blow  the  Hydra-  427 
like  rogueries  of  mankind,  is  as  good  as  a  play.  Minute  enact- 
ments are  superfluous  in  good  states,  and  are  useless  in  bad 

And  now  what  remains  of  the  work  of  legislation  ?  Nothing  for 
us  ;  but  to  Apollo  the  god  of  Delphi  we  leave  the  ordering  of  the 
greatest  of  all  things— that  is  to  say,  religion.  Only  our  ancestral 
deity  sitting  upon  the  centre  and  navel  of  the  earth  will  be  trusted 
by  us  if  we  have  any  sense,  in  an  affair  of  such  magnitude.  No 
foreign  god  shall  be  supreme  in  our  realms 

INTRODUC-       Here,  as  Socrates  would  say,  let  us  '  reflect  on '  (o-KOTrfytf  v)  what 


has  preceded  :  thus  far  we  have  spoken  not  of  the  happiness  of 
the  citizens,  but  only  of  the  well-being  of  the  State.  They  may  be 
the  happiest  of  men,  but  our  principal  aim  in  founding  the  State 
was  not  to  make  them  happy.  They  were  to  be  guardians,  not 
holiday-makers.  In  this  pleasant  manner  is  presented  to  us  the 
famous  question  both  of  ancient  and  modern  philosophy,  touching 
the  relation  of  duty  to  happiness,  of  right  to  utility. 

First  duty,  then  happiness,  is  the  natural  order  of  our  moral 
ideas.  The  utilitarian  principle  is  valuable  as  a  corrective  of 

Happiness  and  duty.  lix 

error,  and  shows  to  us  a  side  of  ethics  which  is  apt  to  be  neglected.  Republic 
It  may  be  admitted  further  that  right  and  utility  are  co-extensive, 
and  that  he  who  makes  the  happiness  of  mankind  his  object  TION- 
has  one  of  the  highest  and  noblest  motives  of  human  action.  But 
utility  is  not  the  historical  basis  of  morality ;  nor  the  aspect  in 
which  moral  and  religious  ideas  commonly  occur  to  the  mind. 
The  greatest  happiness  of  all  is,  as  we  believe,  the  far-off  result 
of  the  divine  government  of  the  universe.  The  greatest  happiness 
of  the  individual  is  certainly  to  be  found  in  a  life  of  virtue  and 
goodness.  But  we  seem  to  be  more  assured  of  a  law  of  right  than 
we  can  be  of  a  divine  purpose,  that  'all  mankind  should  be 
saved ; '  and  we  infer  the  one  from  the  other.  And  the  greatest 
happiness  of  the  individual  may  be  the  reverse  of  the  greatest 
happiness  in  the  ordinary  sense  of  the  term,  and  may  be  realised 
in  a  life  of  pain,  or  in  a  voluntary  death.  Further,  the  word 
'  happiness '  has  several  ambiguities ;  it  may  mean  either  pleasure 
or  an  ideal  life,  happiness  subjective  or  objective,  in  this  world  or 
in  another,  of  ourselves  only  or  of  our  neighbours  and  of  all  men 
everywhere.  By  the  modern  founder  of  Utilitarianism  the  self- 
regarding  and  disinterested  motives  of  action  are  included  under 
the  same  term,  although  they  are  commonly  opposed  by  us  as 
benevolence  and  self-love.  The  word  happiness  has  not  the 
definiteness  or  the  sacredness  of  '  truth '  and  '  right ' ;  it  does  not 
equally  appeal  to  our  higher  nature,  and  has  not  sunk  into  the 
conscience  of  mankind.  It  is  associated  too  much  with  the  com- 
forts and  conveniences  of  life  ;  too  little  with  '  the  goods  of  the  soul 
which  we  desire  for  their  own  sake.'  In  a  great  trial,  or  danger, 
or  temptation,  or  in  any  great  and  heroic  action,  it  is  scarcely 
thought  of.  For  these  reasons  '  the  greatest  happiness '  principle 
is  not  the  true  foundation  of  ethics.  But  though  not  the  first 
principle,  it  is  the  second,  which  is  like  unto  it,  and  is  often  of 
easier  application.  For  the  larger  part  of  human  actions  are 
neither  right  nor  wrong,  except  in  so  far  as  they  tend  to  the 
happiness  of  mankind  (cp.  Introd.  to  Gorgias  and  Philebus). 

The  same  question  reappears  in  politics,  where  the  useful  or 
expedient  seems  to  claim  a  larger  sphere  and  to  have  a  greater 
authority.  For  concerning  political  measures,  we  chiefly  ask : 
How  will  they  affect  the  happiness  of  mankind  ?  Yet  here  too  we 
may  observe  that  what  we  term  .expediency  is  merely  the  law  of 

Ix  Idealism  in  Politics. 

Republic  right  limited  by  the  conditions  of  human  society.  Right  and  truth 
INTR  D  c  are  *^e  highest  aims  of  government  as  well  as  of  individuals  ;  and 
TION.  we  ought  not  to  lose  sight  of  them  because  we  cannot  directly 
enforce  them.  They  appeal  to  the  better  mind  of  nations ;  and 
sometimes  they  are  too  much  for  merely  temporal  interests  to 
resist.  They  are  the  watchwords  which  all  men  use  in  matters  of 
public  policy,  as  well  as  in  their  private  dealings ;  the  peace  of 
Europe  may  be  said  to  depend  upon  them.  In  the  most  com- 
mercial and  utilitarian  states  of  society  the  power  of  ideas  remains. 
And  all  the  higher  class  of  statesmen  have  in  them  something  of 
that  idealism  which  Pericles  is  said  to  have  gathered  from  the 
teaching  of  Anaxagoras.  They  recognise  that  the  true  leader  of 
men  must  be  above  the  motives  of  ambition,  and  that  national 
character  is  of  greater  value  than  material  comfort  and  prosperity. 
And  this  is  the  order  of  thought  in  Plato ;  first,  he  expects 
his  citizens  to  do  their  duty,  and  then  under  favourable  circum- 
stances, that  is  to  say,  in  a  well-ordered  State,  their  happi- 
ness is  assured.  That  he  was  far  from  excluding  the  modern 
principle  of  utility  in  politics  is  sufficiently  evident  from  other 
passages,  in  which  '  the  most  beneficial  is  affirmed  to  be  the  most 
honourable '  (v.  457  B),  and  also  '  the  most  sacred '  (v.  458  E). 

We  may  note  (i)  The  manner  in  which  the  objection  of  Adei- 
mantus  here,  as  in  ii.  357  foil.,  363 ;  vi.  ad  init.  etc.,  is  designed  to 
draw  out  and  deepen  the  argument  of  Socrates.  (2)  The  con- 
ception of  a  whole  as  lying  at  the  foundation  both  of  politics  and 
of  art,  in  the  latter  supplying  the  only  principle  of  criticism, 
which,  under  the  various  names  of  harmony,  symmetry,  measure, 
proportion,  unity,  the  Greek  seems  to  have  applied  to  works  of 
art.  (3)  The  requirement  that  the  State  should  be  limited  in 
size,  after  the  traditional  model  of  a  Greek  state ;  as  in  the 
Politics  of  Aristotle  (vii.  4,  etc.),  the  fact  that  the  cities  of  Hellas 
were  small  is  converted  into  a  principle.  (4)  The  humorous 
pictures  of  the  lean  dogs  and  the  fatted  sheep,  of  the  light  active 
boxer  upsetting  two  stout  gentlemen  at  least,  of  the  '  charming ' 
patients  who  are  always  making  themselves  worse  ;  or  again,  the 
playful  assumption  that  there  is  no  State  but  our  own ;  or  the 
grave  irony  with  which  the  statesman  is  excused  who  believes  that 
he  is  six  feet  high  because  he  is  told  so,  and  having  nothing  to 
measure  with  is  to  be  pardoned  for  his  ignorance— he  is  too 

Analysis  427-430.  Ixi 

amusing  for  us  to  be  seriously  angry  with  him.    (5)  The  light  and    Republic 
superficial  manner  in  which  religion  is  passed  over  when  pro-  ^ 
vision  has  been  made  for  two  great  principles, — first,  that  religion       TION. 
shall  be  based  on  the  highest  conception  of  the  gods  (ii.  377  foil.), 
secondly,  that  the  true  national  or  Hellenic  type  shall  be  main- 

Socrates  proceeds  :  But  where  amid  all  this  is  justice  ?  Son  of  ANALYSIS. 
Ariston,  tell  me  where.  Light  a  candle  and  search  the  city,  and  get 
your  brother  and  the  rest  of  our  friends  to  help  in  seeking  for  her. 
*  That  won't  do,'  replied  Glaucon, '  you  yourself  promised  to  make 
the  search  and  talked  about  the  impiety  of  deserting  justice.'  Well, 
I  said,  I  will  lead  the  way,  but  do  you  follow.  My  notion  is,  that 
our  State  being  perfect  will  contain  all  the  four  virtues — wisdom, 

428  courage,  temperance,  justice.    If  we  eliminate  the  three  first,  the 
unknown  remainder  will  be  justice. 

First  then,  of  wisdom :  the  State  which  we  have  called  into 
being  will  be  wise  because  politic.  And  policy  is  one  among 
many  kinds  of  skill, — not  the  skill  of  the  carpenter,  or  of  the 
worker  in  metal,  or  of  the  husbandman,  but  the  skill  of  him  who 
advises  about  the  interests  of  the  whole  State.  Of  such  a  kind  is 

429  the  skill  of  the  guardians,  who  are  a  small  class  in  number,  far 
smaller  than  the  blacksmiths ;  but  in  them  is  concentrated  the 
wisdom  of  the  State.    And  if  this  small  ruling  dass  have  wisdom, 
then  the  whole  State  will  be  wise. 

Our  second  virtue  is  courage,  which  we  have  no  difficulty  in 
finding  in  another  class — that  of  soldiers.  Courage  may  be 
defined  as  a  sort  of  salvation — the  never-failing  salvation  of  the 
opinions  which  law  and  education  have  prescribed  concerning 
dangers.  You  know  the  way  in  which  dyers  first  prepare  the 
white  ground  and  then  lay  on  the  dye  of  purple  or  of  any  other 
colour.  Colours  dyed  in  this  way  become  fixed,  and  no  soap  or 

430  lye  will  ever  wash  them  out.    Now  the  ground  is  education,  and 
the  laws  are  the  colours;    and  if  the  ground  is  properly  laid, 
neither  the  soap  of  pleasure  nor  the  lye  of  pain  or  fear  will  ever 
wash  them  out.    This  power  which  preserves  right  opinion  about 
danger  I  would  ask  you  to  call  '  courage,'  adding  the  epithet 
'political '  or  '  civilized '  in  order  to  distinguish  it  from  mere  animal 
courage  and  from  a  higher   courage  which  may  hereafter   be 

Ixii  Analysis  431-434. 

Republic  Two  virtues  remain  ;  temperance  and  justice.  More  than  the 
ANALYSIS.  Prececu'ng  virtues  temperance  suggests  the  idea  of  harmony.  431 
Some  light  is  thrown  upon  the  nature  of  this  virtue  by  the  popular 
description  of  a  man  as  '  master  of  himself '—which  has  an  absurd 
sound,  because  the  master  is  also  the  servant.  The  expression 
really  means  that  the  better  principle  in  a  man  masters  the  worse. 
There  are  in  cities  whole  classes — women,  slaves  and  the  like — 
who  correspond  to  the  worse,  and  a  few  only  to  the  better ;  and  in 
our  State  the  former  class  are  held  under  control  by  the  latter. 
Now  to  which  of  these  classes  does  temperance  belong  ?  *  To  both 
of  them.'  And  our  State  if  any  will  be  the  abode  of  temperance ; 
and  we  were  right  in  describing  this  virtue  as  a  harmony  which 
is  diffused  through  the  whole,  making  the  dwellers  in  the  city  to  432 , 
be  of  one  mind,  and  attuning  the  upper  and  middle  and  lower 
classes  like  the  strings  of  an  instrument,  whether  you  suppose 
them  to  differ  in  wisdom,  strength  or  wealth. 

And  now  we  are  hear  the  spot ;  let  us  draw  in  and  surround  the 
cover  and  watch  with  all  our  eyes,  lest  justice  should  slip  away 
and  escape.  Tell  me,  if  you  see  the  thicket  move  first.  *  Nay,  I 
would  have  you  lead.'  Well  then,  offer  up  a  prayer  and  follow. 
The  way  is  dark  and  difficult ;  but  we  must  push  on.  I  begin  to 
see  a  track.  '  Good  news.'  Why,  Glaucon,  our  dulness  of  scent 
is  quite  ludicrous  !  While  we  are  straining  our  eyes  into  the 
distance,  justice  is  tumbling  out  at  our  feet.  We  are  as  bad  as 
people  looking  for  a  thing  which  they  have  in  their  hands.  Have  433 
you  forgotten  our  old  principle  of  the  division  of  labour,  or  of  every 
man  doing  his  own  business,  concerning  which  we  spoke  at  the 
foundation  of  the  State— what  but  this  was  justice  ?  Is  there  any 
other  virtue  remaining  which  can  compete  with  wisdom  and 
temperance  and  courage  in  the  scale  of  political  virtue  ?  For 
*  every  one  having  his  own '  is  the  great  object  of  government ;  and 
the  great  object  of  trade  is  that  every  man  should  do  his  own  434 
business.  Not  that  there  is  much  harm  in  a  carpenter  trying  to 
be  a  cobbler,  or  a  cobbler  transforming  himself  into  a  carpenter ; 
but  great  evil  may  arise  from  the  cobbler  leaving  his  last  and 
turning  into  a  guardian  or  legislator,  or  when  a  single  individual 
is  trainer,  warrior,  legislator,  all  in  one.  And  this  evil  is  injustice, 
or  every  man  doing  another's  business.  I  do  not  say  that  as  yet 
we  are  in  a  condition  to  arrive  at  a  final  conclusion.  For  the 

The  definition  of  justice.  Ixiii 

definition  which  we  believe  to  hold  good  in  states  has  still  to  be   Republic 

tested  by  the  individual.     Having  read  the  large  letters  we  will    ANALYSIS. 

435  now  come  back  to  the  small.    From  the  two  together  a  brilliant 
light  may  be  struck  out.  .  .  . 

Socrates  proceeds  to  discover  the  nature  of  justice  by  a  method  INTRODUC- 
of  residues.  Each  of  the  first  three  virtues  corresponds  to  one  of 
the  three  parts  of  the  soul  and  one  of  the  three  classes  in  the 
State,  although  the  third,  temperance,  has  more  of  the  nature  of  a 
harmony  than  the  first  two.  If  there  be  a  fourth  virtue,  that  can 
only  be  sought  for  in  the  relation  of  the  three  parts  in  the  soul  or 
classes  in  the  State  to  one  another.  It  is  obvious  and  simple,  and 
for  that  very  reason  has  not  been  found  out.  The  modern  logician 
will  be  inclined  to  object  that  ideas  cannot  be  separated  like 
chemical  substances,  but  that  they  run  into  one  another  and  may 
be  only  different  aspects  or  names  of  the  same  thing,  and  such  in 
this  instance  appears  to  be  the  case.  For  the  definition  here  given 
of  justice  is  verbally  the  same  as  one  of  the  definitions  of  temper- 
ance given  by  Socrates  in  the  Charmides  (162  A),  which  however 
is  only  provisional,  and  is  afterwards  rejected.  And  so  far  from 
justice  remaining  over  when  the  other  virtues  are  eliminated,  the 
justice  and  temperance  of  the  Republic  can  with  difficulty  be 
distinguished.  Temperance  appears  to  be  the  virtue  of  a  part 
only,  and  one  of  three,  whereas  justice  is  a  universal  virtue  of  the 
whole  soul.  Yet  on  the  other  hand  temperance  is  also  described 
as  a  sort  of  harmony,  and  in  this  respect  is  akin  to  justice.  Justice 
seems  to  differ  from  temperance  in  degree  rather  than  in  kind ; 
whereas  temperance  is  the  harmony  of  discordant  elements, 
justice  is  the  perfect  order  by  which  all  natures  and  classes 
do  their  own  business,  the  right  man  in  the  right  place,  the 
division  and  co-operation  of  all  the  citizens.  Justice,  again,  is  a 
more  abstract  notion  than  the  other  virtues,  and  therefore,  from 
Plato's  point  of  view,  the  foundation  of  them,  to  which  they  are 
referred  and  which  in  idea  precedes  them.  The  proposal  to 
omit  temperance  is  a  mere  trick  of  style  intended  to  avoid 
monotony  (cp.  vii.  528). 

There  is  a  famous  question  discussed  in  one  of  the  earlier 
Dialogues  of  Plato  (Protagoras,  329,  330 ;  cp.  Arist.  Nic.  Ethics,  vi. 
13.  6),  '  Whether  the  virtues  are  one  or  many  ? '  This  receives  an 
answer  which  is  to  the  effect  that  there  are  four  cardinal  virtues 

Ixiv  Analysis  435-437. 

Republic  (now  for  the  first  time  brought  together  in  ethical  philosophy), 
INTRODUC-  anc*  one  suPreme  °ver  the  rest,  which  is  not  like  Aristotle's 
TION.  conception  of  universal  justice,  virtue  relative  to  others,  but  the 
whole  of  virtue  relative  to  the  parts.  To  this  universal  conception 
of  justice  or  order  in  the  first  education  and  in  the  moral  nature  of 
man,  the  still  more  universal  conception  of  the  good  in  the  second 
education  and  in  the  sphere  of  speculative  knowledge  seems  to 
succeed.  Both  might  be  equally  described  by  the  terms  Maw,' 
'order/  'harmony;'  but  while  the  idea  of  good  embraces  'all 
time  and  all  existence,'  the  conception  of  justice  is  not  extended 
beyond  man. 

ANALYSIS.  .  .  .  Socrates  is  now  going  to  identify  the  individual  and  the 
State.  But  first  he  must  prove  that  there  are  three  parts  of  the 
individual  soul.  His  argument  is  as  follows  : — Quantity  makes  no 
difference  in  quality.  The  word  'just/  whether  applied  to  the 
individual  or  to  the  State,  has  the  same  meaning.  And  the  term 
'justice  '  implied  that  the  same  three  principles  in  the  State  and  in 
the  individual  were  doing  their  own  business.  But  are  they  really 
three  or  one  ?  The  question  is  difficult,  and  one  which  can  hardly 
be  solved  by  the  methods  which  we  are  now  using  ;  but  the  truer 
and  longer  way  would  take  up  too  much  of  our  time.  'The 
shorter  will  satisfy  me*'  Well  then,  you  would  admit  that  the 
qualities  of  states  mean  the  qualities  of  the  individuals  who 
compose  them?  The  Scythians  and  Thracians  are  passionate, 
our  own  race  intellectual,  and  the  Egyptians  and  Phoenicians  436 
covetous,  because  the  individual  members  of  each  have  such  and 
such  a  character ;  the  difficulty  is  to  determine  whether  the 
several  principles  are  one  or  three ;  whether,  that  is  to  say,  we 
reason  with  one  part  of  our  nature,  desire  with  another,  are  angry 
with  another,  or  whether  the  whole  soul  comes  into  play  in  each 
sort  of  action.  This  enquiry,  however,  requires  a  very  exact 
definition  of  terms.  The  same  thing  in  the  same  relation  cannot 
be  affected  in  two  opposite  ways.  But  there  is  no  impossibility  in 
a  man  standing  still,  yet  moving  his  arms,  or  in  a  top  which 
is  fixed  on  one  spot  going  round  upon  its  axis.  There  is  no 
necessity  to  mention  all  the  possible  exceptions ;  let  us  pro-  437 
visionally  assume  that  opposites  cannot  do  or  be  or  suffer 
opposites  in  the  same  relation.  And  to  the  class  of  opposites 
belong  assent  and  dissent,  desire  and  avoidance.  And  one  form 

Analysis  437-441,  Ixv 

of  desire  is  thirst  and  hunger :   and  here  arises  a  new  point—   Republic 



thirst  is  thirst  of  drink,  hunger  is  hunger  of  food ;  not  of  warm 

438  drink  or  of  a  particular  kind  of  food,  with  the  single  exception  of 
course  that  the  very  fact  of  our  desiring  anything  implies  that  it  is 
good.    When  relative  terms  have  no  attributes,  their  correlatives 
have  no  attributes ;  when  they  have  attributes,  their  correlatives 
also  have  them.     For  example,  the  term  'greater'  is  simply 
relative  to  '  less,'  and  knowledge  refers  to  a  subject  of  knowledge. 
But  on  the  other  hand,  a  particular  knowledge  is  of  a  particular 
subject.    Again,  every  science  has  a  distinct  character,  which  is 
defined  by  an  object ;  medicine,  for  example,  is  the  science  of 

439  health,  although  not  to  be  confounded  with  health.    Having  cleared 
our  ideas  thus  far,  let  us  return  to  the  original  instance  of  thirst, 
which  has  a  definite  object — drink.    Now  the  thirsty  soul  may  feel 
two  distinct  impulses  ;  the  animal  one  saying  '  Drink ; '  the  rational 
one,  which  says  *  Do  not  drink.'    The  two  impulses  are  contradic- 
tory ;  and  therefore  we  may  assume  that  they  spring  from  distinct 
principles  in  the  soul.    But  is  passion  a  third  principle,  or  akin  to 
desire  ?  There  is  a  story  of  a  certain  Leontius  which  throws  some, 

•  light  on  this  question.  He  was  coming  up  from  the  Piraeus 
outside  the  north  wall,  and  he  passed  a  spot  where  there  were 
dead  bodies  lying  by  the  executioner.  He  felt  a  longing  desire  to 
see  them  and  also  an  abhorrence  of  them  ;  at  first  he  turned  away 

440  and  shut  his  eyes,  then,  suddenly  tearing  them  open,  he  said, — 
4  Take  your  fill,  ye  wretches,  of  the  fair  sight.'      Now  is  there 
not  here  a  third  principle  which  is  often  found  to  come  to  the 
assistance  of  reason  against  desire,  but  never  of  desire  against 
reason  ?   This  is  passion  or  spirit,  of  the  separate  existence  of 
which  we  may  further  convince  ourselves  by  putting  the  following 
case  : — When  a  man  suffers  justly,  if  he  be  of  a  generous  nature 
he    is    not    indignant  at  the  hardships  which    he    undergoes  \ 
but  when  he  suffers  unjustly,  his  indignation  is  his  great  support ; 
hunger  and  thirst  cannot  tame  him ;  the  spirit  within  him  must; 
do  or  die,  until  the  voice  of  the  shepherd,  that  is,  of  reason, 
bidding   his  dog  bark  no  more,  is  heard  within.     This  shows 

441  that  passion  is  the  ally  of  reason.    Is  passion  then  the  same  with 
reason  ?    No,  for  the  former  exists  in  children  and  brutes ;   and 
Homer  affords  a  proof  of  the  distinction  between  them  when  he 
says,  '  He  smote  his  breast,  and  thus  rebuked  his  soul.' 

Ixvi  Analysis  441-445. 

Republic  And  now,  at  last,  we  have  reached  firm  ground,  and  are  able  to 
ANALYSIS  ^GT  tnat  t^le  v^rtues  °^  tne  State  and  of  the  individual  are  the 
same.  For  wisdom  and  courage  and  justice  in  the  State  are 
severally  the  wisdom  and  courage  and  justice  in  the  individuals 
who  form  the  State.  Each  of  the  three  classes  will  do  the  work 
of  its  own  class  in  the  State,  and  each  part  in  the  individual  soul ; 
reason,  the  superior,  and  passion,  the  inferior,  will  be  harmonized  442 
by  the  influence  of  music  and  gymnastic.  The  counsellor  and  the 
warrior,  the  head  and  the  arm,  will  act  together  in  the  town  of 
Mansoul,  and  keep  the  desires  in  proper  subjection.  The  courage 
of  the  warrior  is  that  quality  which  preserves  a  right  opinion 
about  dangers  in  spite  of  pleasures  and  pains.  The  wisdom  of 
the  counsellor  is  that  small  part  of  the  soul  which  has  authority 
and  reason.  The  virtue  of  temperance  is  the  friendship  of  the 
ruling  and  the  subject  principles,  both  in  the  State  and  in  the 
individual.  Of  justice  we  have  already  spoken ;  and  the  notion 
already  given  of  it  may  be  confirmed  by  common  instances. 
Will  the  just  state  or  the  just  individual  steal,  lie,  commit  adultery,  443 
or  be  guilty  of  impiety  to  gods  and  men  ?  '  No.'  And  is  not  the 
reason  of  this  that  the  several  principles,  whether  in  the  state  or 
in  the  individual,  do  their  own  business  ?  And  justice  is  the 
quality  which  makes  just  men  and  just  states.  Moreover,  our  old 
division  of  labour,  which  required  that  there  should  be  one  man 
for  one  use,  was  a  dream  or  anticipation  of  what  was  to  follow ; 
and  that  dream  has  now  been  realized  in  justice,  which  begins  by 
binding  together  the  three  chords  of  the  soul,  and  then  acts 
harmoniously  in  every  relation  of  life.  And  injustice,  which  is  444 
the  insubordination  and  disobedience  of  the  inferior  elements  in 
the  soul,  is  the  opposite  of  justice,  and  is  inharmonious  and 
unnatural,  being  to  the  soul  what  disease  is  to  the  body  ;  for  in  the 
soul  as  well  as  in  the  body,  good  or  bad  actions  produce  good  or 
bad  habits.  And  virtue  is  the  health  and  beauty  and  well-being  of 
the  soul,  and  vice  is  the  disease  and  weakness  and  deformity  of 
the  soul. 

Again  the  old  question  returns  upon  us  :    Is  justice  or  injustice  445 
the  more  profitable  ?    The  question  has  become  ridiculous.    For 
injustice,  like  mortal  disease,  makes  life  not  worth  having.    Come 
up  with  me  to  the  hill  which  overhangs  the  city  and  look  down 
upon  the  single  form  of  virtue,  and  the  infinite  forms  of  vice, 

The  laws  of  contradiction.  Ixvii 

among  which  are  four  special  ones,  characteristic  both  of  states   Republic 
and  of  individuals.     And  the   state   which    corresponds   to   the 


single  form  of  virtue  is  that  which  we  have  been  describing, 
wherein  reason  rules  under  one  of  two  names — monarchy  and 
aristocracy.  Thus  there  are  five  forms  in  all,  both  of  states  and  of 
souls.  .  .  . 

In  attempting  to  prove  that  the  soul  has  three  separate  faculties,  INTRODUC- 
Plato  takes  occasion  to  discuss  what  makes  difference  of  faculties. 
And  the  criterion  which  he  proposes  is  difference  in  the  working 
of  the  faculties.  The  same  faculty  cannot  produce  contradic- 
tory effects.  But  the  path  of  early  reasoners  is  beset  by  thorny 
entanglements,  and  he  will  not  proceed  a  step  without  first 
clearing  the  ground.  This  leads  him  into  a  tiresome  digression, 
which  is  intended  to  explain  the  nature  of  contradiction.  First, 
the  contradiction  must  be  at  the  same  time  and  in  the  same 
relation.  Secondly,  no  extraneous  word  must  be  introduced 
into  either  of  the  terms  in  which  the  contradictory  proposition 
is  expressed  :  for  example,  thirst  is  of  drink,  not  of  warm  drink. 
He  implies,  what  he  does  not  say,  that  if,  by  the  advice  of  reason, 
or  by  the  impulse  of  anger,  a  man  is  restrained  from  drinking, 
this  proves  that  thirst,  or  desire  under  which  thirst  is  included,  is 
distinct  from  anger  and  reason.  But  suppose  that  we  allow 
the  term  '  thirst '  or  '  desire '  to  be  modified,  and  say  an  '  angry 
thirst,'  or  a  'revengeful  desire,'  then  the  two  spheres  of  desire 
and  anger  overlap  and  become  confused.  This  case  therefore 
has  to  be  excluded.  And  still  there  remains  an  exception  to 
the  rule  in  the  use  of  the  term  *  good,'  which  is  always  implied 
in  the  object  of  desire.  These  are  the  discussions  of  an  age 
before  logic ;  and  any  one  who  is  wearied  by  them  should  re- 
member that  they  are  necessary  to  the  clearing  up  of  ideas  in 
the  first  development  of  the  human  faculties. 

The  psychology  of  Plato  extends  no  further  than  the  division 
of  the  soul  into  the  rational,  irascible,  and  concupiscent  elements, 
which,  as  far  as  we  know,  was  first  made  by  him,  and  has 
been  retained  by  Aristotle  and  succeeding  ethical  writers.  The 
chief  difficulty  in  this  early  analysis  of  the  mind  is  to  define 
exactly  the  place  of  the  irascible  faculty  (tfv/udf),  which  may  be 
variously  described  under  the  terms  righteous  indignation,  spirit, 
passion.  It  is  the  foundation  of  courage,  which  includes  in  Plato 


Ixviii  Passion  and  desire. 

Republic  moral  courage,  the  courage  of  enduring  pain,  and  of  surmounting 
INTRODUC-  intellectual  difficulties,  as  well  as  of  meeting  dangers  in  war. 
TICK.  Though  irrational,  \\  inclines  to  side  with  the  rational :  it  cannot 
be  aroused  by  punishment  when  justly  inflicted  :  it  sometimes 
takes  the  form  of  an  enthusiasm  which  sustains  a  man  in  the  per- 
formance of  great  actions.  It  is  the  '  lion  heart '  with  which  the 
reason  makes  a  treaty  (ix.  589  B).  On  the  other  hand  it  is  nega- 
tive rather  than  positive  ;  it  is  indignant  at  wrong  or  falsehood,  but 
does  not,  like  Love  in  the  Symposium  and  Phaedrus,  aspire  to  the 
vision  of  Truth  or  Good.  It  is  the  peremptory  military  spirit 
which  prevails  in  the  government  of  honour.  It  differs  from  anger 
(opyr)),  this  latter  term  having  no  accessory  notion  of  righteous 
indignation.  Although  Aristotle  has  retained  the  word,  yet  we 
may  observe  that  *  passion '  (0u/*os)  has  with  him  lost  its  affinity 
to  the  rational  and  has  become  indistinguishable  from  'anger* 
(opyrj).  And  to  this  vernacular  use  Plato  himself  in  the  Laws 
seems  to  revert  (ix.  836  B),  though  not  always  (v.  731  A).  By 
modern  philosophy  too,  as  well  as  in  our  ordinary  conversation, 
the  words  anger  or  passion  are  employed  almost  exclusively 
in  a  bad  sense  ;  there  is  no  connotation  of  a  just  or  reasonable 
cause  by  which  they  are  aroused.  The  feeling  of '  righteous  in- 
dignation '  is  too  partial  and  accidental  to  admit  of  our  regarding 
it  as  a  separate  virtue  or  habit.  We  are  tempted  also  to  doubt 
whether  Plato  is  right  in  supposing  that  an  offender,  however 
justly  condemned,  could  be  expected  to  acknowledge  the  justice 
of  his  sentence ;  this  is  the  spirit  of  a  philosopher  or  martyr  rather 
than  of  a  criminal. 

We  may  observe  (p.  444  D,  E)  how  nearly  Plato  approaches 
Aristotle's  famous  thesis,  that  '  good  actions  produce  good  habits.' 
The  words  '  as  healthy  practices  (fWiyflev/iara)  produce  health,  so 
do  just  practices  produce  justice,'  have  a  sound  very  like  the 
Nicomachean  Ethics.  But  we  note  also  that  an  incidental  remark 
in  Plato  has  become  a  far-reaching  principle  in  Aristotle,  and  an 
inseparable  part  of  a  great  Ethical  system. 

There  is  a  difficulty  in  understanding  what  Plato  meant  by 
*  the  longer  way '  (435  D  ;  cp.  infra,  vi.  504) :  he  seems  to  intimate 
some  metaphysic  of  the  future  which  will  not  be  satisfied  with 
arguing  from  the  principle  of  contradiction.  In  the  sixth  and 
seventh  books  (compare  Sophist  and  Parmenides)  he  has  given 

The  longer  way.  Ixix 

us  a  sketch  of  such  a  metaphysic :   but  when  Glaucon  asks  for    Republic 

the  final  revelation  of  the  idea  of  good,  he  is  put  off  with  the    INTRODUC. 

declaration  that  he  has  not  yet  studied  the  preliminary  sciences.  TION- 
How  he  would  have  filled  up  the  sketch,  or  argued  about  such 
questions  from  a  higher  point  of  view,  we  can  only  conjecture. 
Perhaps  he  hoped  to  find  some  a  priori  method  of  developing 
the  parts  out  of  the  whole ;  or  he  might  have  asked  which  of 
the  ideas  contains  the  other  ideas,  and  possibly  have  stumbled 
on  the  Hegelian  identity  of  the  '  eg6 '  and  the  '  universal.7  Or 
he  may  have  imagined  that  ideas  might  be  constructed  in  some 
manner  analogous  to  the  construction  of  figures  and  numbers 
in  the  mathematical  sciences.  The  most  certain  and  necessary 
truth  was  to  Plato  the  universal;  and  to  this  he  was  always 
seeking  to  refer  all  knowledge  or  opinion,  just  as  in  modern 
times  we  seek  to  rest  them  on  the  opposite  pole  of  induction 
and  experience.  The  aspirations  of  metaphysicians  have  always 
tended  to  pass  beyond  the  limits  of  human  thought  and  language  : 
they  seem  to  have  reached  a  height  at  which  they  are  '  moving 
about  in  worlds  unrealized,'  and  theft  conceptions,  although 
profoundly  affecting  their  own  minds,  become  invisible  or  un- 
intelligible to  others.  We  are  not  therefore  surprized  to  find 
that  Plato  himself  has  nowhere  clearly  explained  his  doctrine 
of  ideas ;  or  that  his  school  in  a  later  generation,  like  his  con- 
temporaries Glaucon  and  Adeimantus,  were  unable  to  follow 
him  in  this  region  of  speculation.  In  the  Sophist,  where  he  is 
refuting  the  scepticism  which  maintained  either  that  there  was  no 
such  thing  as  predication,  or  that  all  might  be  predicated  of  all,  he 
arrives  at  the  conclusion  that  some  ideas  combine  with  some, 
but  not  all  with  all.  But  he  makes  only  one  or  two  steps  forward 
on  this  path;  he  nowhere  attains  to  any  connected  system  of 
ideas,  or  even  to  a  knowledge  of  the  most  elementary  relations 
of  the  sciences  to  one  another  (see  infra). 

Steph.  BOOK  V.  I  was  going  to  enumerate  the  four  forms  of  vice  ANALYSIS. 
449  or  decline  in  states,  when  Polemarchus— he  was  sitting  a  little 
farther  from  me  than  Adeimantus— taking  him  by  the  coat  and 
leaning  towards  him,  said  something  in  an  undertone,  of  which 
I  only  caught  the  words,  ' Shall  we  let  him  off?'  'Certainly 
not,'  said  Adeimantus,  raising  his  voice*  Whom,  I  said,  are  you 

Ixx  Analysis  449-452. 

Republic  not  going  to  let  off?  *  You,3  he  said.  Why  ?  '  Because  we  think 
ANALYSIS  ^at  ^ou  are  not  Dealing  fairly  with  us  in  omitting  women  and 
children,  of  whom  you  have  slily  disposed  under  the  general 
formula  that  friends  have  all  things  in  common.'  And  was  I 
not  right?  'Yes/  he  replied,  'but  there  are  many  sorts  of 
communism  or  community,  and  we  want  to  know  which  of  them 
is  right.  The  company,  as  you  have  just  heard,  are  resolved 
to  have  a  further  explanation.'  Thrasymachus  said,  *  Do  you  450 
think  that  we  have  come  hither  to  dig  for  gold,  or  to  hear  you 
discourse  ? '  Yes,  I  said  ;  but  the  discourse  should  be  of  a  reason- 
able length.  Glaucon  added,  •'  Yes,  Socrates,  and  there  is  reason 
in  spending  the  whole  of  life  in  such  discussions  ;  but  pray,  with- 
out more  ado,  tell  us  how  this  community  is  to  be  carried  out, 
and  how  the  interval  between  birth  and  education  is  to  be 
filled  up.'  Well,  I  said,  the  subject  has  several  difficulties — 
What  is  possible  ?  is  the  first  question.  What  is  desirable  ?  is 
the  second.  '  Fear  not,'  he  replied,  '  for  you  are  speaking  among 
friends.'  That,  I  replied,  is  a  sorry  consolation ;  I  shall  destroy 
my  friends  as  well  as  myself.  Not  that  I  mind  a  little  innocent  45 * 
laughter ;  but  he  who  kills  the  truth  is  a  murderer.  '  Then,'  said 
Glaucon,  laughing,  '  in  case  you  should  murder  us  we  will  acquit 
you  beforehand,  and  you  shall  be  held  free  from  the  guilt  of 
deceiving  us.' 

•  Socrates  proceeds  : — The  guardians  of  our  state  are  to  be 
watch-dogs,  as  we  have  already  said.  Now  dogs  are  not  divided 
into  hes  and  shes — we  do  not  take  the  masculine  gender  out 
to  hunt  and  leave  the  females  at  home  to  look  after  their  puppies. 
They  have  the  same  employments — the  only  difference  between 
them  is  that  the  one  sex  is  stronger  and  the  other  weaker.  But 
if  women  are  to  have  the  same  employments  as  men,  they 
must  have  the  same  education — they  must  be  taught  music 
and  gymnastics,  and  the  art  of  war.  I  know  that  a  great  joke  452 
will  be  made  of  their  riding  on  horseback  and  carrying  weapons  ; 
the  sight  of  the  naked  old  wrinkled  women  showing  their  agility 
in  the  palaestra  will  certainly  not  be  a  vision  of  beauty,  and  may 
be  expected  to  become  a  famous  jest  But  we  must  not  mind 
the  wits ;  there  was  a  time  when  they  might  have  laughed  at 
our  present  gymnastics.  All  is  habit :  people  have  at  last  found 
out  that  the  exposure  is  better  than  the  concealment  of  the 

Analysis  452-456.  Ixxi 

person,  and  now  they  laugh  no  more.    Evil  only  should  be  the    Republic 


subject  of  ridicule. 

453  The  first  question  is,  whether  women  are  able  either  wholly  or 
partially  to  share  in  the  employments  of  men.      And  here  we 
may  be  charged  with  inconsistency  in  making  the  proposal  at  all. 
For  we  started  originally  with  the  division  of  labour ;  and  the 
diversity  of  employments  was  based  on  the  difference  of  natures. 
But  is  there  no  difference  between  men  and  women  ?      Nay, 
are  they  not  wholly  different  ?     There  was  the  difficulty,  Glaucon, 
which  made  me  unwilling  to  speak  of  family  relations.    However, 
when  a  man  is  out  of  his  depth,  whether  in  a  pool  or  in  an  ocean, 
he  can  only  swim  for  his  life ;  and  we  must  try  to  find  a  way  of 
escape,  if  we  can. 

454  The  argument  is,  that  different  natures  have  different  uses,  and 
the  natures  of  men  and  women  are  said  to  differ.    But  this  is  only 
a  verbal  opposition.     We   do  not  consider  that  the  difference 
may  be  purely  nominal  and  accidental ;  for  example,  a  bald  man 
and  a  hairy  man  are   opposed  in  a  single  point  of  view,  but 
you  cannot  infer  that  because  a  bald  man  is  a  cobbler  a  hairy 
man  ought  not  to  be  a  cobbler.     Now  why  is  such  an  inference 
erroneous?     Simply  because    the  opposition  between  them  is 
partial  only,  like  the  difference  between  a  male  physician  and 
a  female  physician,  not  running  through  the  whole  nature,  like  the 
difference  between  a  physician  and  a  carpenter.     And  if  the 
difference  of  the  sexes  is  only  that  the  one  beget  and  the  other 
bear  children,  this  does  not    prove    that    they  ought    to    have 

455  distinct  educations.    Admitting  that  women  differ  from  men  in 
capacity,  do   not  men  equally  differ  from  one  another?      Has 
not  nature  scattered  all  the  qualities  which  our  citizens  require 
indifferently  up  and  down  among  the  two  sexes  ?   and  even  in 
their  peculiar  pursuits,  are  not  women  often,  though  in  some 
cases  superior  to  men,  ridiculously  enough  surpassed  by  them? 
Women  are  the  same  in  kind  as  men,  and  have  the  same  aptitude 

456  or  want  of  aptitude  for  medicine  or  gymnastic  or  war,  but  in  a 
less  degree.    One  woman  will  be  a  good  guardian,  another  not ; 
and   the    good    must  be   chosen    to  be    the    colleagues  of  our 
guardians.    If  however  their  natures  are  the  same,  the  inference 
is  that  their  education  must  also  be  the  same  ;  there  is  no  longer 
anything  unnatural  or  impossible  in  a  woman  learning  music 

Ixxii  Analysis  456-460. 

Republic   and  gymnastic.     And  the  education  which  we  give  them  will 

ANALYSIS    ^e  the  vei%v  ^est,  ^T  suPer*or  to  that  °f  cobblers,  and  will  train 
up  the  very  best  women,  and  nothing  can  be  more  advantageous  to 
the  State  than  this.     Therefore  let  them  strip,  clothed  in  their  457 
chastity,  and  share  in  the  toils  of  war  and  in  the  defence  of  their 
country ;  he  who  laughs  at  them  is  a  fool  for  his  pains. 

The  first  wave  is  past,  and  the  argument  is  compelled  to  admit 
that  men  and  women  have  common  duties  and  pursuits.  A 
second  and  greater  wave  is  rolling  in — community  of  wives  and 
children ;  is  this  either  expedient  or  possible  ?  The  expediency 
I  do  not  doubt ;  I  am  not  so  sure  of  the  possibility.  '  Nay,  I 
think  that  a  considerable  doubt  will  be  entertained  on  both 
points.'  I  meant  to  have  escaped  the  trouble  of  proving  the 
first,  but  as  you  have  detected  the  little  stratagem  I  must  even 
submit.  Only  allow  me  to  feed  my  fancy  like  the  solitary  in  his  45 8 
walks,  with  a  dream  of  what  might  be,  and  then  I  will  return  to 
the  question  of  what  can  be. 

In  the  first  place  our  rulers  will  enforce  the  laws  and  make  new 
ones  where  they  are  wanted,  and  their  allies  or  ministers  will 
obey.  You,  as  legislator,  have  already  selected  the  men ;  and 
how  you  shall  select  the  women.  After  the  selection  has  been 
made,  they  will  dwell  in  common  houses  and  have  their  meals  in 
common,  and  will  be  brought  together  by  a  necessity  more  certain 
than  that  of  mathematics.  But  they  cannot  be  allowed  to  live  in 
licentiousness ;  that  is  an  unholy  thing,  which  the  rulers  are 
determined  to  prevent.  For  the  avoidance  of  this,  holy  marriage 
festivals  will  be  instituted,  and  their  holiness  will  be  in  proportion  459 
to  their  usefulness.  And  here,  Glaucon,  I  should  like  to  ask  (as 
I  know  that  you  are  a  breeder  of  birds  and  animals),  Do  you 
not  take  the  greatest  care  in  the  mating  ?  *  Certainly.'  And  there 
is  no  reason  to  suppose  that  less  care  is  required  in  the  marriage 
of  human  beings.  But  then  our  rulers  must  be  skilful  physicians 
of  the  State,  for  they  will  often  need  a  strong  dose  of  falsehood  in 
order  to  bring  about  desirable  unions  between  their  subjects. 
The  good  must  be  paired  with  the  good,  and  the  bad  with  the 
bad,  and  the  offspring  of  the  one  must  be  reared,  and  of  the  other 
destroyed ;  in  this  way  the  flock  will  be  preserved  in  prime 
condition.  Hymeneal  festivals  will  be  celebrated  at  times  fixed  460 
with  an  eye  to  population,  and  the  brides  and  bridegrooms  will 

Analysis  460-462.  Ixxiii 

meet  at  them  ;  and  by  an  ingenious  system  of  lots  the  rulers  will   Republic 
contrive  that  the  brave  and  the  fair  come  together,  and  that  those  ' 

of  inferior  breed  are  paired  with  inferiors — the  latter  will  ascribe 
to  chance  what  is  really  the  invention  of  the  rulers.  And  when 
children  are  born,  the  offspring  of  the  brave  and  fair  will  be 
carried  to  an  enclosure  in  a  certain  part  of  the  city,  and  there 
attended  by  suitable  nurses ;  the  rest  will  be  hurried  away  to 
places  unknown.  The  mothers  will  be  brought  to  the  fold  and 
will  suckle  the  children;  care  however  must  be  taken  that  none 
of  them  recognise  their  own  offspring ;  and  if  necessary  other 
nurses  may  also  be  hired.  The  trouble  of  watching  and  getting 
up  at  night  will  be  transferred  to  attendants.  '  Then  the  wives  of 
our  guardians  will  have  a  fine  easy  time  when  they  are  having 
children.'  And  quite  right  too,  I  said,  that  they  should. 

The  parents  ought  to  be  in  the  prime  of  life,  which  for  a  man 
may  be  reckoned  at  thirty  years — from  twenty-five,  when  he 

461  has  '  passed  the  point  at  which  the  speed  of  life  is  greatest,' 
to  fifty-five ;  and  at  twenty  years  for  a  woman — from  twenty  to 
forty.    Any  one  above  or  below  those  ages  who  partakes  in 
the  hymeneals  shall  be  guilty  of  impiety ;   also  every  one  who 
forms  a  marriage  connexion  at  other  times  without  the  consent 
of  the  rulers.     This  latter  regulation  applies  to  those  who  are 
within  the  specified  ages,  after  which  they  may  range  at  will; 
provided  they  avoid  the  prohibited  degrees  of  parents  and  children, 
or  of  brothers  and  sisters,  which  last,  however,  are  not  absolutely 
prohibited,  if  a  dispensation  be  procured.     '  But  how  shall  we 
know  the  degrees   of  affinity,  when   all   things   are   common  ? ' 
The  answer  is,  that  brothers  and  sisters  are  all  such  as  are  born 
seven  or  nine  months  after  the  espousals,  and  their  parents  those 

462  who  are  then  espoused,  and  every  one  will  have  many  children 
and  every  child  many  parents. 

Socrates  proceeds  :  I  have  now  to  prove  that  this  scheme  is 
advantageous  and  also  consistent  with  our  entire  polity.  The 
greatest  good  of  a  State  is  unity ;  the  greatest  evil,  discord  and 
distraction.  And  there  will  be  unity  where  there  are  no  private 
pleasures  or  pains  or  interests— where  if  one  member  suffers 
all  the  members  suffer,  if  one  citizen  is  touched  all  are  quickly 
sensitive ;  and  the  least  hurt  to  the  little  finger  of  the  State  runs 
through  the  whole  body  and  vibrates  to  the  soul.  For  the  true 

Ixxiv  Analysis  462-466. 

Republic  State,  like  an  individual,  is  injured  as  a  whole  when  any  part 
ANALYSIS  *s  an<ecte^'  Every  State  has  subjects  and  rulers,  who  in  a  463 
democracy  are  called  rulers,  and  in  other  States  masters  :  but  in 
our  State  they  are  called  saviours  and  allies;  and  the  subjects 
who  in  other  States  are  termed  slaves,  are  by  us  termed  nurturers 
and  paymasters,  and  those  who  are  termed  comrades  and 
colleagues  in  other  places,  are  by  us  called  fathers  and  brothers. 
And  whereas  in  other  States  members  of  the  same  government 
regard  one  of  their  colleagues  as  a  friend  and  another  as  an 
enemy,  in  our  State  no  man  is  a  stranger  to  another ;  for  every 
citizen  is  connected  with  every  other  by  ties  of  blood,  and  these 
names  and  this  way  of  speaking  will  have  a  corresponding 
reality — brother,  father,  sister,  mother,  repeated  from  infancy  in 
the  ears  of  children,  will  not  be  mere  words.  Then  again  the  464 
citizens  will  have  all  things  in  common,  and  having  common 
property  they  will  have  common  pleasures  and  pains. 

Can  there  be  strife  and  contention  among  those  who  are  of 
one  mind  ;  or  lawsuits  about  property  when  men  have  nothing 
but  their  bodies  which  they  call  their  own ;  or  suits  about 
violence  when  every  one  is  bound  to  defend  himself?  The 
permission  to  strike  when  insulted  will  be  an  '  antidote '  to  465 
the  knife  and  will  prevent  disturbances  in  the  State.  But 
no  younger  man  will  strike  an  elder ;  reverence  will  prevent 
him  from  laying  hands  on  his  kindred,  and  he  will  fear  that  the 
rest  of  the  family  may  retaliate.  Moreover,  our  citizens  will  be 
rid  of  the  lesser  evils  of  life  ;  there  will  be  no  flattery  of  the  rich, 
no  sordid  household  cares,  no  borrowing  and  not  paying.  Com- 
pared with  the  citizens  of  other  States,  ours  will  be  Olympic 
victors,  and  crowned  with  blessings  greater  still — they  and  their 
children  having  a  better  maintenance  during  life,  and  after  death 
an  honourable  burial.  Nor  has  the  happiness  of  the  individual  466 
been  sacrificed  to  the  happiness  of  the  State  (cp.  iv.  419  E) ;  our 
Olympic  victor  has  not  been  turned  into  a  cobbler,  but  he  has 
a  happiness  beyond  that  of  any  cobbler.  At  the  same  time,  if  any 
conceited  youth  begins  to  dream  of  appropriating  the  State  to 
himself,  he  must  be  reminded  that  '  half  is  better  than  the  whole.' 
'  I  should  certainly  advise  him  to  stay  where  he  is  when  he  has  the 
promise  of  such  a  brave  life.' 
-  But  is  such  a  community  possible  ? — as  among  the  animals,  so 

Analysis  466-469.  Ixxv 

also  among  men ;  and  if  possible,  in  what  way  possible  ?    About   Republic 
war  there  is  no  difficulty;  the  principle  of  communism  is  adapted    .      ^ 
to  military  service.     Parents  will  take  their  children  to  look  on 

467  at  a  battle,  just  as  potters'  boys  are  trained  to  the  business  by 
looking  on  at  the  wheel.    And  to  the  parents  themselves,  as  to 
other  animals,  the  sight  of  their  young  ones  will  prove  a  great 
incentive  to  bravery.    Young  warriors  must  learn,  but  they  must 
not  run  into  danger,  although  a  certain  degree  of  risk  is  worth 
incurring  when  the  benefit  is  great.    The  young  creatures  should 
be  placed  under  the  care  of  experienced  veterans,  and  they  should 
have  wings — that  is  to  say,  swift  and  tractable  steeds  on  which 

468  they  may  fly  away  and  escape.    One  of  the  first  things  to  be  done 
is  to  teach  a  youth  to  ride. 

Cowards  and  deserters  shall  be  degraded  to  the  class  of 
husbandmen ;  gentlemen  who  allow  themselves  to  be  taken 
prisoners,  may  be  presented  to  the  enemy.  But  what  shall  be 
done  to  the  hero?  First  of  all  he  shall  be  crowned  by  all  the 
youths  in  the  army ;  secondly,  he  shall  receive  the  right  hand  of 
fellowship ;  and  thirdly,  do  you  think  that  there  is  any  harm  in 
his  being  kissed  ?  We  have  already  determined  that  he  shall 
have  more  wives  than  others,  in  order  that  he  may  have  as  many 
children  as  possible.  And  at  a  feast  he  shall  have  more  to  eat ; 
we  have  the  authority  of  Homer  for  honouring  brave  men  with 
'  long  chines,'  which  is  an  appropriate  compliment,  because  meat 
•is  a  very  strengthening  thing.  Fill  the  bowl  then,  and  give  the 
best  seats  and  meats  to  the  brave — may  they  do  them  good ! 
And  he  who  dies  in  battle  will  be  at  once  declared  to  be  of  the 
golden  race,  and  will,  as  we  believe,  become  one  of  Hesiod's 

469  guardian    angels.     He  shall  be  worshipped  after  death  in  the 
manner  prescribed  by  the  oracle ;   and  not  only  he,  but  all  other 
benefactors  of  the   State  who  die  in  any  other  way,  shall  be 
admitted  to  the  same  honours. 

The  next  question  is,  How  shall  we  treat  our  enemies  ?  Shall 
Hellenes  be  enslaved  ?  No ;  for  there  is  too  great  a  risk  of  the 
whole  race  passing  under  the  yoke  of  the  barbarians.  Or  shall 
the  dead  be  despoiled  ?  Certainly  not ;  for  that  sort  of  thing  is  an 
excuse  for  skulking,  and  has  been  the  ruin  of  many  an  army* 
There  is  meanness  and  feminine  malice  in  making  an  enemy 
of  the  dead  body,  when  the  soul  which  was  the  owner  has  fled — 

Ixxvi  Analysis  469-473. 

Republic   like  a  dog  who  cannot  reach  his  assailants,  and  quarrels  with  the 
ANALYSIS    stones  which    are  thrown   at  him  instead.     Again,  the  arms  of 

Hellenes  should  not  be  offered  up  in  the  temples  of  the  Gods ;  they  470 
are  a  pollution,  for  they  are  taken  from  brethren.  And  on  similar 
grounds  there  should  be  a  limit  to  the  devastation  of  Hellenic 
territory — the  houses  should  not  be  burnt,  nor  more  than  the 
annual  produce  carried  off.  For  war  is  of  two  kinds,  civil  and 
foreign ;  the  first  of  which  is  properly  termed  c  discord,'  and  only 
the  second  '  war ; '  and  war  between  Hellenes  is  in  reality  civil 
War — a  quarrel  in  a  family,  which  is  ever  to  be  regarded  as 
unpatriotic  and  unnatural,  and  ought  to  be  prosecuted  with  a  view  47 * 
to  reconciliation  in  a  true  phil-Hellenic  spirit,  as  of  those  who 
would  chasten  but  not  utterly  enslave.  The  war  is  not  against 
a  whole  nation  who  are  a  friendly  multitude  of  men,  women, 
and  children,  but  only  against  a  few  guilty  persons ;  when  they 
are  punished  peace  will  be  restored.  That  is  the  way  in  which 
Hellenes  should  war  against  one  another — and  against  barbarians, 
as  they  war  against  one  another  now. 

'  But,  my  dear  Socrates,  you  are  forgetting  the  main  question  : 
Is  such  a  State  possible?  I  grant  all  and  more  than  you  say 
about  the  blessedness  of  being  one  family — fathers,  brothers, 
mothers,  daughters,  going  out  to  war  together ;  but  I  want  to 
ascertain  the  possibility  of  this  ideal  State.'  You  are  too  un-  472 
merciful.  The  first  wave  and  the  second  wave  I  have  hardly 
escaped,  and  now  you  will  certainly  drown  me  with  the  third. 
When  you  see  the  towering  crest  of  the  wave,  I  expect  you  to 
take  pity.  *  Not  a  whit.' 

Well,  then,  we  were  led  to  form  our  ideal  polity  in  the  search 
after  justice,  and  the  just  man  answered  to  the  just  State.  Is  this 
ideal  at  all  the  worse  for  being  impracticable  ?  Would  the  picture 
of  a  perfectly  beautiful  man  be  any  the  worse  because  no  such 
man  ever  lived  ?  Can  any  reality  come  up  to  the  idea  ?  Nature 
Will  not  allow  words  to  be  fully  realized ;  but  if  I  am  to  try  and  473 
realize  the  ideal  of  the  State  in  a  measure,  I  think  that  an 
approach  may  be  made  to  the  perfection  of  which  I  dream  by  one 
or  two,  I  do  not  say  slight,  but  possible  changes  in  the  present 
constitution  of  States.  I  would  reduce  them  to  a  single  one — the 
great  wave,  as  I  call  it.  Until,  then,  kings  are  philosophers,  or 
philosophers  are  kings,  cities  will  never  cease  from  ill ;  no,  nor  the 

Analysis  473-477.  Ixxvii 

human  race;  nor  will  our  ideal  polity  ever  come  into  being.  I  know  Republic 
that  this  is  a  hard  saying,  which  few  will  be  able  to  receive.  ANALySIS 
*  Socrates,  all  the  world  will  take  off  his  coat  and  rush  upon  you 

474  with  sticks  and  stones,  and  therefore   I  would    advise  you  to 
prepare  an  answer.'      You  got  me  into  the  scrape,  I  said.     *  And 
I  was  right,'  he  replied  ;  '  however,  I  will  stand  by  you  as  a  sort 
of  do-nothing,  well-meaning  ally.'    Having  the  .  help  of  such  a 
champion,  I  will  do  my  best  to  maintain  my  position.    And  first,  \ 
must  explain  of  whom  I  speak  and  what  sort  of  natures  these  are  who 
are  to  be  philosophers  and  rulers.     As  you  are  a  man  of  pleasure, 
you  will  not  have  forgotten  how  indiscriminate  lovers  are  in  their 
attachments ;  they  love  all,  and  turn  blemishes  into  beauties.    The 
snub-nosed  youth  is  said  to  have  a  winning  grace ;   the  beak  of 
another  has  a  royal  look;  the  featureless  are  faultless;  the  dark 
are  manly,  the  fair  angels  ;  the  sickly  have  a  new  term  of  endear- 

475  ment  invented  expressly  for  them,  which  is '  honey-pale.'   Lovers  of 
wine  and  lovers  of  ambition  also  desire  the  objects  of  their  affection 
in  every  form.    Now  here  comes  the  point : — The  philosopher  too  is 
a  lover  of  knowledge  in  every  form  ;  he  has  an  insatiable  curiosity. 
'  But  will  curiosity  make  a  philosopher  ?    Are  the  lovers  of  sights, 
and  sounds,  who  let  out  their  ears  to  every  chorus  at  the  Dionysiac 
festivals,  to  be  called  philosophers  ? '    They  are  not  true  philoso- 
phers, but  only  an  imitation.    *  Then  how  are  we  to  describe  the. 

You  would  acknowledge  the  existence  of  abstract  ideas,  such  as 

476  justice,  beauty,  good,  evil,  which  are  severally  one,  yet  in  their 
various  combinations  appear  to  be  many.    Those  who  recognize 
these  realities  are  philosophers ;  whereas  the  other  class  hear 
sounds  and  see  colours,  and  understand  their  use  in  the  arts,  but 
cannot  attain  to  the  true  or  waking  vision  of  absolute  justice  or 
beauty  or  truth  ;  they  have  not  the  light  of  knowledge,  but  of 
opinion,  and  what  they  see  is  a  dream  only.      Perhaps   he    of 
whom  we   say  the  last  will  be  angry  with  us;  can  we  pacify 
him  without    revealing    the    disorder    of   his    mind  ?    Suppose 
we    say  that,  if   he    has   knowledge  we  rejoice  to  hear  it,  but 
knowledge  must  be  of  something  which  is,  as  ignorance  is  of 

477  something  which  is  not ;  and  there  is  a  third  thing,  which  both  is 
and  is  not,  and  is  matter  of  opinion  only.    Opinion  and  knowledge, 
then,  having  distinct  objects,  must  also  be  distinct  faculties.    And 

Ixxviii  Analysis  477-480. 

Republic  by  faculties  I  mean  powers  unseen  and  distinguishable  only  by  the 
ANALYSIS  din<erence  m  tneir  objects,  as  opinion  and  knowledge  differ,  since 
the  one  is  liable  to  err,  but  the  other  is  unerring  and  is  the 
mightiest  of  all  our  faculties.  If  being  is  the  object  of  knowledge, 
and  not-being  of  ignorance,  and  these  are  the  extremes,  opinion  478 
must  lie  between  them,  and  may  be  called  darker  than  the  one 
and  brighter  than  the  other.  This  intermediate  or  contingent 
matter  is  and  is  not  at  the  same  time,  and  partakes  both  of 
existence  and  of  non-existence.  Now  I  would  ask  my  good  479 
friend,  who  denies  abstract  beauty  and  justice,  and  affirms  a 
many  beautiful  and  a  many  just,  whether  everything  he  sees 
is  not  in  some  point  of  view  different — the  beautiful  ugly,  the 
pious  impious,  the  just  unjust  ?  Is  not  the  double  also  the  half, 
and  are  not  heavy  and  light  relative  terms  which  pass  into  one 
another  ?  Everything  is  and  is  not,  as  in  the  old  riddle — '  A  man 
and  not  a  man  shot  and  did  not  shoot  a  bird  and  not  a  bird  with  a 
stone  and  not  a  stone.'  The  mind  cannot  be  fixed  on  either  alterna- 
tive; and  these  ambiguous,  intermediate,  erring,  half-lighted  objects, 
which  have  a  disorderly  movement  in  the  region  between  being 
and  not-being,  are  the  proper  matter  of  opinion,  as  the  immutable  480 
objects  are  the  proper  matter  of  knowledge.  And  he  who  grovels 
in  the  world  of  sense,  and  has  only  this  uncertain  perception  of 
things,  is  not  a  philosopher,  but  a  lover  of  opinion  only.  .  .  . 


INTRODUC-  The  fifth  book  is  the  new  beginning  of  the  Republic,  in  which 
the  community  of  property  and  of  family  are  first  maintained, 
and  the  transition  is  made  to  the  kingdom  of  philosophers. 
For  both  of  these  Plato,  after  his  manner,  has  been  preparing  in 
some  chance  words  of  Book  IV  (424  A),  which  fall  unperceived  on 
the  reader's  mind,  as  they  are  supposed  at  first  to  have  fallen  on 
the  ear  of  Glaucon  and  Adeimantus.  The  ( paradoxes,'  as  Morgen- 
stern  terms  them,  of  this  book  of  the  Republic  will  be  reserved  for 
another  place  ;  a  few  remarks  on  the  style,  and  some  explanations 
of  difficulties,  may  be  briefly  added. 

First,  there  is  the  image  of  the  waves,  which  serves  for  a  sort  of 
scheme  or  plan  of  the  book.  The  first  wave,  the  second  wave,  the 
third  and  greatest  wave  come  rolling  in,  and  we  hear  the  roar  of 
them.  All  that  can  be  said  of  the  extravagance  of  Plato's  proposals 
is  anticipated  by  himself.  Nothing  is  more  admirable  than  the 

The  '  table  of  affinities!  Ixxix 

hesitation  with  which  he  proposes  the  solemn  text,  'Until  kings   Republic 
are  philosophers,'  &c. ;   or  the  reaction  from  the  sublime  to  the      TRODU 
ridiculous,  when  Glaucon  describes  the  manner  in  which  the  new      TION- 
truth  will  be  received  by  mankind. 

Some  defects  and  difficulties  may  be  noted  in  the  execution  of 
the  communistic  plan.  Nothing  is  told  us  of  the  application  of 
communism  to  the  lower  classes ;  nor  is  the  table  of  prohibited 
degrees  capable  of  being  made  out.  It  is  quite  possible  that  a 
child  born  at  one  hymeneal  festival  may  marry  one  of  its  own 
brothers  or  sisters,  or  even  one  of  its  parents,  at  another.  Plato  is 
afraid  of  incestuous  unions,  but  at  the  same  time  he  does  not  wish 
to  bring  before  us  the  fact  that  the  city  would  be  divided  into  families 
of  those  born  seven  and  nine  months  after  each  hymeneal  festival. 
If  it  were  worth  while  to  argue  seriously  about  such  fancies,  we 
might  remark  that  while  all  the  old  affinities  are  abolished,  the 
newly  prohibited  affinity  rests  not  on  any  natural  or  rational 
principle,  but  only  upon  the  accident  of  children  having  been  born 
in  the  same  month  and  year.  Nor  does  he  explain  how  the  lots 
could  be  so  manipulated  by  the  legislature  as  to  bring  together 
the  fairest  and  best.  The  singular  expression  (460  E)  which  is 
employed  to  describe  the  age  of  five-and-twenty  may  perhaps 
be  taken  from  some  poet. 

In  the  delineation  of  the  philosopher,  the  illustrations  of  the 
nature  of  philosophy  derived  from  love  are  more  suited  to  the 
apprehension  of  Glaucon,  the  Athenian  man  of  pleasure,  than  to 
modern  tastes  or  feelings  (cp.  V.  474, 475).  They  are  partly  facetious, 
but  also  contain  a  germ  of  truth.  That  science  is  a  whole,  remains 
a  true  principle  of  inductive  as  well  as  of  metaphysical  philosophy; 
and  the  love  of  universal  knowledge  is  still  the  characteristic  of 
the  philosopher  in  modern  as  well  as  in  ancient  times. 

At  the  end  of  the  fifth  book  Plato  introduces  the  figment  of  con- 
tingent matter,  which  has  exercised  so  great  an  influence  both  on 
the  Ethics  and  Theology  of  the  modern  world,  and  which  occurs 
here  for  the  first  time  in  the  history  of  philosophy.  He  did  not 
remark  that  the  degrees  of  knowledge  in  the  subject  have  nothing 
corresponding  to  them  in  the  object.  With  him  a  word  must 
answer  to  an  idea  ;  and  he  could  not  conceive  of  an  opinion  which 
was  an  opinion  about  nothing.  The  influence  of  analogy  led  him 
to  invent  '  parallels  and  conjugates '  and  to  overlook  facts.  To  us 

Ixxx  Necessary  confusion  of  ideas  in  Plato. 

Republic  some  of  his  difficulties  are  puzzling  only  from  their  simplicity ;  we 
INTRO'DUO  ^°  not  Perce^ve  tnat  tne  answer  to  them  '  is  tumbling  out  at  our 
TION.  feet.'  To  the  mind  of  early  thinkers,  the  conception  of  not-being 
was  dark  and  mysterious  (Sophist,  254  A) ;  they  did  not  see  that 
this  terrible  apparition  which  threatened  destruction  to  all  know- 
ledge was  only  a  logical  determination.  The  common  term  under 
which,  through  the  accidental  use  of  language,  two  entirely  different 
ideas  were  included  was  another  source  of  confusion.  Thus 
through  the  ambiguity  of  doKclv,  </>cuVrai,  eotKei/,  K.T.X.  Plato,  at- 
tempting to  introduce  order  into  the  first  chaos  of  human  thought, 
seems  to  have  confused  perception  and  opinion,  and  to  have 
failed  to  distinguish  the  contingent  from  the  relative.  In  the 
Theaetetus  the  first  of  these  difficulties  begins  to  clear  up  ;  in  the 
Sophist  the  second ;  and  for  this,  as  well  as  for  other  reasons, 
both  these  dialogues  are  probably  to  be  regarded  as  later  than  the 

ANALYSIS.       BOOK  VI.     Having  determined  that  the  many  have  no  know-  Steph. 
ledge  of  true  being,  and  have  no  clear  patterns  in  their  minds  of 
justice,  beauty,  truth,  and  that  philosophers  have  such  patterns,  we 
have  now  to  ask  whether  they  or  the  many  shall  be  rulers  in  our 
State.    But  who  can  doubt  that  philosophers  should  be  chosen,  if 
they  have  the  other  qualities  which  are  required  in  a  ruler  ?    For  485 
they  are  lovers  of  the  knowledge  of  the  eternal  and  of  all  truth  ; 
they  are  'haters  of  falsehood  ;  their  meaner  desires  are  absorbed  in 
the  interests  of  knowledge  ;  they  are  spectators  of  all  time  and  all 
existence  ;  and  in  the  magnificence  of  their  contemplation  the  life  486 
of  man  is  as  nothing  to  them,  nor  is  death  fearful.    Also  they  are 
of  a  social,  gracious  disposition,  equally  free  from  cowardice  and 
arrogance.    They  learn  and  remember  easily;    they  have  har- 
monious, well-regulated  minds ;   truth  flows  to  them  sweetly  by 
nature.    Can  the  god  of  Jealousy  himself  find  any  fault  with  such  487 
an  assemblage  of  good  qualities  ? 

Here  Adeimantus  interposes : — '  No  man  can  answer  you, 
Socrates ;  but  every  man  feels  that  this  is  owing  to  his  own 
deficiency  in  argument.  He  is  driven  from  one  position  to 
another,  until  he  has  nothing  more  to  say,  just  as  an  un- 
skilful player  at  draughts  is  reduced  to  his  last  move  by  a 
more  skilled  opponent.  And  yet  all  the  time  he  may  be  right- 

Analysis  487-490.  Ixxxi 

He  may  know,  in  this  very  instance,  that  those  who  make  Republic 
philosophy  the  business  of  their  lives,  generally  turn  out  rogues  if 
they  are  bad  men,  and  fools  if  they  are  good.  What  do  you  say  ? ' 
I  should  say  that  he  is  quite  right.  'Then  how  is  such  an  ad- 
mission reconcileable  with  the  doctrine  that  philosophers  should 
be  kings  ? ' 

488  I  shall  answer  you  in  a  parable  which  will  also  let  you  see  how 
poor  a  hand  I  am  at  the  invention  of  allegories.  The  relation  of 
good  men  to  their  governments  is  so  peculiar,  that  in  order  to 
defend  them  I  must  take  an  illustration  from  the  world  of  fiction. 
Conceive  the  captain  of  a  ship,  taller  by  a  head  and  shoulders  than 
any  of  the  crew,  yet  a  little  deaf,  a  little  blind,  and  rather  ignorant 
of  the  seaman's  art.  The  sailors  want  to  steer,  although  they  » 
know  nothing  of  the  art ;  and  they  have  a  theory  that  it  cannot 
be  learned.  If  the  helm  is  refused  them,  they  drug  the  captain's 
posset,  bind  him  hand  and  foot,  and  take  possession  of  the  ship. 
He  who  joins  in  the  mutiny  is  termed  a  good  pilot  and  what  not ;  % 
they  have  no  conception  that  the  true  pilot  must  observe  the 
winds  and  the  stars,  and  must  be  their  master,  whether  they  like 
it  or  not; — such  an  one  would  be  called  by  them  fool,  prater, 

^89  star-gazer.  This  is  my  parable ;  which  I  will  beg  you  to  interpret 
for  me  to  those  gentlemen  who  ask  why  the  philosopher  has  such 
an  evil  name,  and  to  explain  to  them  that  not  he,  but  those  who  will 
not  use  him,  are  to  blame  for  his  uselessness.  The  philosopher 
should  not  beg  of  mankind  to  be  put  in  authority  over  them.  The 
wise  man  should  not  seek  the  rich,  as  the  proverb  bids,  but  every 
man,  whether  rich  or  poor,  must  knock  at  the  door  of  the  physician 
when  he  has  need  of  him.  Now  the  pilot  is  the  philosopher — he 
whom  in  the  parable  they  call  star-gazer,  and  the  mutinous  sailors 
are  the  mob  of  politicians  by  whom  he  is  rendered  useless.  Not 
that  these  are  the  worst  enemies  of  philosophy,  who  is  far  more 
dishonoured  by  her  own  professing  sons  when  they  are  corrupted 

^90  by  the  world.  Need  I  recall  the  original  image  of  the  philosopher  ? 
Did  we  not  say  of  him  just  now,  that  he  loved  truth  and  hated 
falsehood,  and  that  he  could  not  rest  in  the  multiplicity  of  pheno- 
mena, but  was  led  by  a  sympathy  in  his  own  nature  to  the 
contemplation  of  the  absolute  ?  All  the  virtues  as  well  as  truth, 
who  is  the  leader  of  them,  took  up  their  abode  in  his  soul.  But  as 
you  were  observing,  ii  we  turn  aside  to  view  the  reality,  we  see 


Ixxxii  Analysis  490-493. 

Republic   that  the  persons  who  were  thus  described,  with  the  exception  of  a 


small  and  useless  class,  are  utter  rogues. 

The  point  which  has  to  be  considered,  is  the  origin  of  this 
corruption  in  nature.  Every  one  will  admit  that  the  philosopher,  491 
in  our  description  of  him,  is  a  rare  being.  But  what  numberless 
causes  tend  to  destroy  these  rare  beings !  There  is  no  good 
thing  which  may  not  be  a  cause  of  evil — health,  wealth,  strength, 
rank,  and  the  virtues  themselves,  when  placed  under  unfavourable 
circumstances.  For  as  in  the  animal  or  vegetable  world  the 
strongest  seeds  most  need  the  accompaniment  of  good  air  and  soil, 
so  the  best  of  human  characters  turn  out  the  worst  when  they  fall 
upon  an  unsuitable  soil ;  whereas  weak  natures  hardly  ever  do 
any  considerable  good  or  harm  ;  they  are  not  the  stuff  out  of  which 
either  great  criminals  or  great  heroes  are  made.  The  philosopher  492 
follows  the  same  analogy  :  he  is  either  the  best  or  the  worst  of  all 
men.  Some  persons  say  that  the  Sophists  are  the  corrupters  of 
youth ;  but  is  not  public  opinion  the  real  Sophist  who  is  every- 
where present— in  those  very  persons,  in  the  assembly,  in  the 
courts,  in  the  camp,  in  the  applauses  and  hisses  of  the  theatre  re- 
echoed by  the  surrounding  hills  ?  Will  not  a  young  man's  heart 
leap  amid  these  discordant  sounds  ?  and  will  any  education  save 
him  from  being  carried  away  by  the  torrent  ?  Nor  is  this  all.  For 
if  he  will  not  yield  to  opinion,  there  follows  the  gentle  compulsion 
of  exile  or  death.  What  principle  of  rival  Sophists  or  anybody 
else  can  overcome  in  such  an  unequal  contest  ?  Characters  there 
may  be  more  than  human,  who  are  exceptions — God  may  save  a  493 
man,  but  not  his  own  strength.  Further,  I  would  have  you 
consider  that  the  hireling  Sophist  only  gives  back  to  the  world 
their  own  opinions  ;  he  is  the  keeper  of  the  monster,  who  knows 
how  to  flatter  or  anger  him,  and  observes  the  meaning  of  his 
inarticulate  grunts.  Good  is  what  pleases  him,  evil  what  he 
dislikes ;  truth  and  beauty  are  determined  only  by  the  taste  of  the 
brute.  Such  is  the  Sophist's  wisdom,  and  such  is  the  condition 
of  those  who  make  public  opinion  the  test  of  truth,  whether  in  art 
or  in  morals.  The  curse  is  laid  upon  them  of  being  and  doing 
what  it  approves,  and  when  they  attempt  first  principles  the 
failure  is  ludicrous.  Think  of  all  this  and  ask  yourself  whether  the 
world  is  more  likely  to  be  a  believer  in  the  unity  of  the  idea,  or  in 
the  multiplicity  of  phenomena.  And  the  world  if  not  a  believer 

Analysis  494-497.  Ixxxiii 

194  in  the  idea  cannot  be  a  philosopher,  and  must  therefore  be  a   Republic 
persecutor  of  philosophers.     There  is  another  evil : — the  world 
does  not  like  to  lose  the  gifted  nature,  and  so  they  flatter  the 
young  [Alcibiades]  into  a  magnificent  opinion  of  his  own  capacity; 
the  tall,  proper  youth  begins  to  expand,  and  is  dreaming    of 
kingdoms  and  empires.   If  at  this  instant  a  friend  whispers  to  him, 
'  Now  the  gods  lighten  thee ;  thou  art  a  great  fool '  and  must  be 
educated— do  you  think  that  he  will  listen  ?    Or  suppose  a  better^ 
sort  of  man  who  is  attracted  towards  philosophy,  will  they  not 

1-95  make  Herculean  efforts  to  spoil  and  corrupt  him?  Are  we  not 
right  in  saying  that  the  love  of  knowledge,  no  less  than  riches,  may 
divert  him  ?  Men  of  this  class  [Critias]  often  become  politicians — 
they  are  the  authors  of  great  mischief  in  states,  and  sometimes 
also  of  great  good.  And  thus  philosophy  is  deserted  by  her 
natural  protectors,  and  others  enter  in  and  dishonour  her.  Vulgar 
little  minds  see  the  land  open  and  rush  from  the  prisons  of  the 
arts  into  her  temple.  A  clever  mechanic  having  a  soul  coarse  as 
his  body,  thinks  that  he  will  gain  caste  by  becoming  her  suitor. 
For  philosophy,  even  in  her  fallen  estate,  has  a  dignity  of  her  own 
— and  he,  like  a  bald  little  blacksmith's  apprentice  as  he  is,  having 
made  some  money  and  got  out  of  durance,  washes  and  dresses 

196  himself  as  a  bridegroom  and  marries  his  master's  daughter.  What 
will  be  the  issue  of  such  marriages  ?  Will  they  not  be  vile  and 
bastard,  devoid  of  truth  and  nature  ?  '  They  will.'  Small,  then,  is 
the  remnant  of  genuine  philosophers ;  there  may  be  a  few  who 
are  citizens  of  small  states,  in  which  politics  are  not  worth  thinking 
of,  or  who  have  been  detained  by  Theages'  bridle  of  ill  health ;  for 
my  own  case  of  the  oracular  sign  is  almost  unique,  and  too  rare 
to  be  worth  mentioning.  And  these  few  when  they  have  tasted 
the  pleasures  of  philosophy,  and  have  taken  a  look  at  that  den  of 
thieves  and  place  of  wild  beasts,  which  is  human  life,  will  stand 
aside  from  the  storm  under  the  shelter  of  a  wall,  and  try  to 
preserve  their  own  innocence  and  to  depart  in  peace.  *  A  great 
work,  too,  will  have  been  accomplished  by  them.'  Great,  yes,  but 
not  the  greatest ;  for  man  is  a  social  being,  and  can  only  attain  his 
highest  development  in  the  society  which  is  best  suited  to  him. 

497  Enough,  then,  of  the  causes  why  philosophy  has  such  an  evil 
name.  Another  question  is,  Which  of  existing  states  is  suited 
to  her  ?  Not  one  of  them ;  at  present  she  is  like  some  exotic  seed 

Ixxxiv  Analysis  497-499. 

Republic   which  degenerates  in  a  strange  soil ;  only  in  her  proper  state  will 

ANALYSIS    s^e  ^e  shown  to  be  °f  heavenly  growth.    '  And  is  her  proper  state 

ours  or  some  other  ? '    Ours  in  all  points  but  one,  which  was  left 

undetermined.    You  may  remember  our  saying  that  some  living 

mind  or  witness  of  the  legislator  was  needed  in  states.    But  we 

were  afraid  to  enter  upon  a  subject  of  such  difficulty,  and  now 

the  question  recurs  and  has  not  grown  easier  : — How  may  philo- 

^sophy  be  safely  studied  ?    Let  us  bring  her  into  the  light  of  day, 

and  make  an  end  of  the  inquiry. 

In  the  first  place,  I  say  boldly  that  nothing  can  be  worse  than 
the  present  mode  of  study.  Persons  usually  pick  up  a  little  498 
philosophy  in  early  youth,  and  in  the  intervals  of  business,  but 
they  never  master  the  real  difficulty,  which  is  dialectic.  Later, 
perhaps,  they  occasionally  go  to  a  lecture  on  philosophy.  Years 
advance,  and  the  sun  of  philosophy,  unlike  that  of  Heracleitus, 
sets  never  to  rise  again.  This  order  of  education  should  be  re- 
versed;  it  should  begin  with  gymnastics  in  youth,  and  as  the 
man  strengthens,  he  should  increase  the  gymnastics  of  his  soul. 
Then,  when  active  life  is  over,  let  him  finally  return  to  philosophy. 
'You  are  in  earnest,  Socrates,  but  the  world  will  be  equally 
earnest  in  withstanding  you — no  one  more  than  Thrasymachus.' 
Do  not  make  a  quarrel  between  Thrasymachus  and  me,  who  were 
never  enemies  and  are  now  good  friends  enough.  And  I  shall  do 
my  best  to  convince  him  and  all  mankind  of  the  truth  of  my  words, 
or  at  any  rate  to  prepare  for  the  future  when,  in  another  life,  we 
may  again  take  part  in  similar  discussions.  *  That  will  be  a  long 
time  hence/  Not  long  in  comparison  with  eternity.  The  many 
will  probably  remain  incredulous,  for  they  have  never  seen  the 
natural  unity  of  ideas,  but  only  artificial  juxtapositions;  not 
free  and  generous  thoughts,  but  tricks  of  controversy  and  quips 
of  law ; — a  perfect  man  ruling  in  a  perfect  state,  even  a  single  499 
one  they  have  not  known.  And  we  foresaw  that  there  was  no 
chance  of  perfection  either  in  states  or  individuals  until  a  ne- 
cessity was  laid  upon  philosophers — not  the  rogues,  but  those 
whom  we  called  the  useless  class — of  holding  office ;  or  until 
the  sons  of  kings  were  inspired  with  a  true  love  of  philosophy. 
Whether  in  the  infinity  of  past  time  there  has  been,  or  is  in 
some  distant  land,  or  ever  will  be  hereafter,  an  ideal  such  as  we 
have  described,  we  stoutly  maintain  that  there  has  been,  is,  and 

Analysis  499-502.  Ixxxv 

will  be  such  a  state  whenever  the  Muse  of  philosophy  rules.    Republic 


500  Will  you  say  that  the  world  is  of  another  mind  ?    O,  my  friend, 

do  not  revile  the  world  !  They  will  soon  change  their  opinion 
if  they  are  gently  entreated,  and  are  taught  the  true  nature  of  the 
philosopher.  Who  can  hate  a  man  who  loves  him  ?  or  be  jealous 
of  one  who  has  no  jealousy?  Consider,  again,  that  the  many 
hate  not  the  true  but  the  false  philosophers— the  pretenders  who 
force  their  way  in  without  invitation,  and  are  always  speaking 
of  persons  and  not  of  principles,  which  is  unlike  the  spirit  of 
philosophy.  For  the  true  philosopher  despises  earthly  strife ; 
his  eye  is  fixed  on  the  eternal  order  in  accordance  with  which 
he  moulds  himself  into  the  Divine  image  (and  not  himself  only, 
but  other  men),  and  is  the  creator  of  the  virtues  private  as  well  as 
public.  When  mankind  see  that  the  happiness  of  states  is  only 
to  be  found  in  that  image,  will  they  be  angry  with  us  for  attempt- 
ing to  delineate  it  ?  '  Certainly  not.  But  what  will  be  the  process 

;oi  of  delineation  ? '  The  artist  will  do  nothing  until  he  has  made 
a  tabula  rasa ;  on  this  he  will  inscribe  the  constitution  of  a  state, 
glancing  often  at  the  divine  truth  of  nature,  and  from  that  deriving 
the  godlike  among  men,  mingling  the  two  elements,  rubbing  out 
and  painting  in,  until  there  is  a  perfect  harmony  or  fusion  of 
the  divine  and  human.  But  perhaps  the  world  will  doubt  the 
existence  of  such  an  artist.  What  will  they  doubt?  That  the 
philosopher  is  a  lover  of  truth,  having  a  nature  akin  to  the  best  ? — 
and  if  they  admit  this  will  they  still  quarrel  with  us  for  making 
philosophers  our  kings  ?  '  They  will  be  less  disposed  to  quarrel.' 

;o2  Let  us  assume  then  that  they  are  pacified.  Still,  a  person  may 
hesitate  about  the  probability  of  the  son  of  a  king  being  a  philo- 
sopher. And  we  do  not  deny  that  they  are  very  liable  to  be 
corrupted ;  but  yet  surely  in  the  course  of  ages  there  might  be 
one  exception — and  one  is  enough.  If  one  son  of  a  king  were 
a  philosopher,  and  had  obedient  citizens,  he  might  bring  the  ideal 
polity  into  being.  Hence  we  conclude  that  our  laws  are  not 
only  the  best,  but  that  they  are  also  possible,  though  not  free  from 

I  gained  nothing  by  evading  the  troublesome  questions  which 
arose  concerning  women  and  children.  I  will  be  wiser  now 
and  acknowledge  that  we  must  go  to  the  bottom  of  another 
question  :  What  is  to  be  the  education  of  our  guardians  ?  It  was 

Ixxxvi  Analysis  503-506. 

Republic  agreed  that  they  were  to  be  lovers  of  their  country,  and  were  503 
ANALY*  to  ^e  testec^  m  tne  refiner's  fire  of  pleasures  and  pains,  and  those 
who  came  forth  pure  and  remained  fixed  in  their  principles  were 
to  have  honours  and  rewards  in  life  and  after  death.  But  at  this 
point,  the  argument  put  on  her  veil  and  turned  into  another  path. 
I  hesitated  to  make  the  assertion  which  I  now  hazard, — that  our 
guardians  must  be  philosophers.  You  remember  all  the  contra- 
dictory elements,  which  met  in  the  philosopher— how  difficult  to 
find  them  all  in  a  single  person !  Intelligence  and  spirit  are  not 
often  combined  with  steadiness;  the  stolid,  fearless,  nature  is 
averse  to  intellectual  toil.  And  yet  these  opposite  elements  are 
all  necessary,  and  therefore,  as  we  were  saying  before,  the 
aspirant  must  be  tested  in  pleasures  and  dangers ;  and  also,  as 
we  must  now  further  add,  in  the  highest  branches  of  knowledge.  504 
You  will  remember,  that  when  we  spoke  of  the  virtues  mention 
was  made  of  a  longer  road,  which  you  were  satisfied  to  leave 
unexplored.  'Enough  seemed  to  have  been  said.'  Enough,  my 
friend ;  but  what  is  enough  while  anything  remains  wanting  ? 
Of  all  men  the  guardian  must  not  faint  in  the  search  after  truth ; 
he  must  be  prepared  to  take  the  longer  road,  or  he  will  never 
reach  that  higher  region  which  is  above  the  four  virtues ;  and  of 
the  virtues  too  he  must  not  only  get  an  outline,  but  a  clear  and 
distinct  vision.  (Strange  that  we  should  be  so  precise  about 
trifles,  so  careless  about  the  highest  truths!)  'And  what  are 
the  highest  ? '  You  to  pretend  unconsciousness,  when  you  have  505 
so  often  heard  me  speak  of  the  idea  of  good,  about  which  we 
know  so  little,  and  without  which  though  a  man  gain  the  world 
he  has  no  profit  of  it !  Some  people  imagine  that  the  good  is 
wisdom ;  but  this  involves  a  circle, — the  good,  they  say,  is  wisdom, 
wisdom  has  to  do  with  the  good.  According  to  others  the  good  is 
pleasure ;  but  then  comes  the  absurdity  that  good  is  bad,  for  there 
are  bad  pleasures  as  well  as  good.  Again,  the  good  must  have 
reality ;  a  man  may  desire  the  appearance  of  virtue,  but  he  will 
not  desire  the  appearance  of  good.  Ought  our  guardians  then 
to  be  ignorant  of  this  supreme  principle,  of  which  every  man  506 
has  a  presentiment,  and  without  which  no  man  has  any  real 
knowledge  of  anything?  'But,  Socrates,  what  is  this  supreme 
principle,  knowledge  or  pleasure,  or  what?  You  may  think  me 
troublesome,  but  I  say  that  you  have  no  business  to  be  always 

Analysis  506-509.  Ixxxvii 

repeating  the  doctrines  of  others  instead  of  giving  us  your  own.'    Republic 
Can  I  say  what  I  do  not  know?     'You  may  offer  an  opinion.' 


And  will  the  blindness  and  crookedness  of  opinion  content  you 
when  you  might  have  the  light  and  certainty  of  science  ?  '  I  will 
only  ask  you  to  give  such  an  explanation  of  the  good  as  you  have 
given  already  of  temperance  and  justice.'  I  wish  that  I  could,  but 
in  my  present  mood  I  cannot  reach  to  the  height  of  the  knowledge 

507  of  the  good.    To  the  parent  or  principal  I  cannot  introduce  you, 
but  to  the  child  begotten  in  his  image,  which  I  may  compare  with 
the  interest  on  the  principal,  I  will.    (Audit  the  account,  and  do 
not  let  me  give  you  a  false  statement  of  the  debt.)    You  remember 
our  old  distinction  of  the  many  beautiful  and  the  one  beautiful, 
the  particular  and  the  universal,  the  objects  of  sight  and  the 
objects  of  thought?     Did  you  ever  consider  that  the  objects  of 
sight  imply  a  faculty  of  sight  which  is  the  most  complex  and 
costly  of  our  senses,  requiring  not  only  objects  of  sense,  but  also 
a  medium,  which  is  light ;  without  which  the  sight  will  not  distin- 

508  guish  between  colours  and  all  will  be  a  blank  ?    For  light   is 
the  noble   bond  between   the   perceiving  faculty  and  the  thing 
perceived,  and  the  god  who  gives  us  light  is  the  sun,  who  is 
the  eye  of  the  .day,  but  is  not  to  be  confounded  with  the  eye 
of  man.     This  eye  of  the  day  or  sun  is  what  I  call  the  child 
of  the  good,  standing  in  the  same  relation  to  the  visible  world 
as  the  good  to  the  intellectual.    When  the  sun  shines  the  eye 
sees,  and  in  the  intellectual  world  where  truth  is,  there  is  sight 
and  light.      Now  that  which  is  the  sun  of  intelligent  natures, 
is  the  idea  of  good,  the    cause  of   knowledge  and  truth,  yet 

509  other  and  fairer  than  they  are,  and  standing  in  the  same  relation 
to  them  in   which  the    sun    stands  to  light.     O  inconceivable 
height  of  beauty,  which  is  above  knowledge  and  above  truth  ! 
('You  cannot  surely  mean  pleasure,'  he  said.    Peace,  I  replied.) 
And  this  idea  of  good,  like  the  sun,  is  also  the  cause  of  growth, 
and  the  author  not  of  knowledge  only,  but  of  being,  yet  greater 
far  than  either  in  dignity  and  power.     '  That  is  a  reach  of  thought 
more  than  human ;  but,  pray,  go  on  with  the  image,  for  I  suspect 
that  there  is  more  behind.'    There  is,  I  said ;  and  bearing  in  mind 
our  two  suns  or  principles,  imagine  further  their  corresponding 
worlds — one  of  the  visible,  the  other  of  the  intelligible ;  you  may 
assist  your  fancy  by  figuring  the  distinction  under  the  image 

Ixxxviii  Analysis  509-511. 

Republic  of  a  line  divided  into  two  unequal  parts,  and  may  again  subdivide 
ANA  '  each  part  into  two  lesser  segments  representative  of  the  stages  of 
knowledge  in  either  sphere.  The  lower  portion  of  the  lower  or 
visible  sphere  will  consist  of  shadows  and  reflections,  and  its  510 
upper  and  smaller  portion  will  contain  real  objects  in  the  world 
of  nature  or  of  art.  The  sphere  of  the  intelligible  will  also 
have  two  divisions,— one  of  mathematics,  in  which  there  is  no 
ascent  but  all  is  descent ;  no  inquiring  into  premises,  but  only 
drawing  of  inferences.  In  this  division  the  mind  works  with 
figures  and  numbers,  the  images  of  which  are  taken  not  from 
the  shadows,  but  from  the  objects,  although  the  truth  of  them  is 
seen  only  with  the  mind's  eye  ;  and  they  are  used  as  hypotheses 
without  being  analysed.  Whereas  in  the  other  division  reason  511 
uses  the  hypotheses  as  stages  or  steps  in  the  ascent  to  the  idea  of 
good,  to  which  she  fastens  them,  and  then  again  descends,  walking 
firmly  in  the  region  of  ideas,  and  of  ideas  only,  in  her  ascent  as 
well  as  descent,  and  finally  resting  in  them,.  'I  partly  under- 
stand,' he  replied ;  '  you  mean  that  the  ideas  of  science  are 
superior  to  the  hypothetical,  metaphorical  conceptions  of  geometry 
and  the  other  arts  or  sciences,  whichever  is  to  be  the  name  of 
them  ;  and  the  latter  conceptions  you  refuse  to  make  subjects  of 
pure  intellect,  because  they  have  no  first  principle,  although  when 
resting  on  a  first  principle,  they  pass  into  the  higher  sphere.' 
You  understand  me  very  well,  I  said.  And  now  to  those  four 
divisions  of  knowledge  you  may  assign  four  corresponding 
faculties — pure  intelligence  to  the  highest  sphere ;  active  intelli- 
gence to  the  second ;  to  the  third,  faith ;  to  the  fourth,  the 
perception  of  shadows — and  the  clearness  of  the  several  faculties 
will  be  in  the  same  ratio  as  the  truth  of  the  objects  to  which  they 
are  related 

INTRODUC-  Like  Socrates,  we  may  recapitulate  the  virtues  of  the  philo- 
sopher. In  language  which  seems  to  reach  beyond  the  horizon 
of  that  age  and  country,  he  is  described  as  *  the  spectator  of  all 
time  and  all  existence.'  He  has  the  noblest  gifts  of  nature,  and 
makes  the  highest  use  of  them.  All  his  desires  are  absorbed 
in  the  love  of  wisdom,  which  is  the  love  of  truth.  None  of  the 
graces  of  a  beautiful  soul  are  wanting  in  him ;  neither  can  he 
fear  death,  or  think  much  of  human  life.  The  ideal  of  modern 

Portrait  of  the  Philosopher,  Ixxxix 

times  hardly  retains  the  simplicity  of  the  antique ;  there  is  not  the  Republic 
same  originality  either  in  truth  or  error  which  characterized  the  INTBOD'UC. 
Greeks.  The  philosopher  is  no  longer  living  in  the  unseen,  nor  TION- 
is  he  sent  by  an  oracle  to  convince  mankind  of  ignorance  ;  nor 
does  he  regard  knowledge  as  a  system  of  ideas  leading  upwards 
by  regular  stages  to  the  idea  of  good.  The  eagerness  of  the 
pursuit  has  abated ;  there  is  more  division  of  labour  and  less  of 
comprehensive  reflection  upon  nature  and  human  life  as  a  whole  ; 
more  of  exact  observation  and  less  of  anticipation  and  inspiration. 
Still,  in  the  altered  conditions  of  knowledge,  the  parallel  is  not 
wholly  lost ;  and  there  may  be  a  use  in  translating  the  conception 
of  Plato  into  the  language  of  our  own  age.  The  philosopher  in 
modern  times  is  one  who  fixes  his  mind  on  the  laws  of  nature  in 
their  sequence  and  connexion,  not  on  fragments  or  pictures  of 
nature  ;  on  history,  not  on  controversy;  on  the  truths  which  are 
acknowledged  by  the  few,  not  on  the  opinions  of  the  many.  He  is 
aware  of  the  importance  of '  classifying  according  to  nature,'  and 
will  try  to  '  separate  the  limbs  of  science  without  breaking  them ' 
(Phaedr.  265  E).  There  is  no  part  of  truth,  whether  great  or 
small,  which  he  will  dishonour ;  and  in  the  least  things  he  will 
discern  the  greatest  (Parmen.  130  C).  Like  the  ancient  philoso- 
pher he  sees  the  world  pervaded  by  analogies,  but  he  can  also 
tell  'why  in  some  cases  a  single  instance  is  sufficient  for  an 
induction '  (Mill's  Logic,  3,  3,  3),  while  in  other  cases  a  thousand 
examples  would  prove  nothing.  He  inquires  into  a  portion  of 
knowledge  only,  because  the  whole  has  grown  too  vast  to  be 
embraced  by  a  single  mind  or  life.  He  has  a  clearer  concep- 
tion of  the  divisions  of  science  and  of  their  relation  to  the  mind 
of  man  than  was  possible  to  the  ancients.  Like  Plato,  he  has  a 
vision  of  the  unity  of  knowledge,  not  as  the  beginning  of  philo- 
sophy to  be  attained  by  a  study  of  elementary  mathematics,  but 
as  the  far-off  result  of  the  working  of  many  minds  in  many  ages. 
He  is  aware  that  mathematical  studies  are  preliminary  to  almost 
every  other ;  at  the  same  time,  he  will  not  reduce  all  varieties  of 
knowledge  to  the  type  of  mathematics.  He  too  must  have  a 
nobility  of  character,  without  which  genius  loses  the  better  half 
of  greatness.  Regarding  the  world  as  a  point  in  immensity,  and 
each  individual  as  a  link  in  a  never-ending  chain  of  existence,  he 
will  not  think  much  of  his  own  life,  or  be  greatly  afraid  of  death. 

xc  The  Criticism  of  Adeimantus. 

Republic  Adeimantus  objects  first  of  all  to  the  form  of  the  Socratic 
INTRODUC-  reasonmg>  thus  showing  that  Plato  is  aware  of  the  imperfection 
TION.  Of  his  own  method.  He  brings  the  accusation  against  himself 
which  might  be  brought  against  him  by  a  modern  logician— that 
he  extracts  the  answer  because  he  knows  how  to  put  the  ques- 
tion. In  a  long  argument  words  are  apt  to  change  their  meaning 
slightly,  or  premises  may  be  assumed  or  conclusions  inferred  with 
rather  too  much  certainty  or  universality;  the  variation  at  each 
step  may  be  unobserved,  and  yet  at  last  the  divergence  becomes 
considerable.  Hence  the  failure  of  attempts  to  apply  arithmetical 
or  algebraic  formulae  to  logic.  The  imperfection,  or  rather  the 
higher  and  more  elastic  nature  of  language,  does  not  allow  words 
to  have  the  precision  of  numbers  or  of  symbols.  And  this  quality 
in  language  impairs  the  force  of  an  argument  which  has  many 

The  objection,  though  fairly  met  by  Socrates  in  this  particular 
instance,  may  be  regarded  as  implying  a  reflection  upon  the 
Socratic  mode  of  reasoning.  And  here,  as  at  p.  506  B,  Plato 
seems  to  intimate  that  the  time  had  come  when  the  negative 
and  interrogative  method  of  Socrates  must  be  superseded  by  a 
positive  and  constructive  one,  of  which  examples  are  given  in 
some  of  the  later  dialogues.  Adeimantus  further  argues  that  the 
ideal  is  wholly  at  variance  with  facts ;  for  experience  proves 
philosophers  to  be  either  useless  or  rogues.  Contrary  to  all 
expectation  (cp.  p.  497  for  a  similar  surprise)  Socrates  has  no 
hesitation  in  admitting  the  truth  of  this,  and  explains  the  anomaly 
in  an  allegory,  first  characteristically  depreciating  his  own  in- 
ventive powers.  In  this  allegory  the  people  are  distinguished 
from  the  professional  politicians,  and,  as  at  pp.  499,  500,  are 
spoken  of  in  a  tone  of  pity  rather  than  of  censure  under  the 
image  of  'the  noble  captain  who  is  not  very  quick  in  his  per- 

The  uselessness  of  philosophers  is  explained  by  the  circum- 
stance that  mankind  will  not  use  them.  The  world  in  all  ages 
has  been  divided  between  contempt  and  fear  of  those  who  employ 
the  power  of  ideas  and  know  no  other  weapons.  Concerning  the 
false  philosopher,  Socrates  argues  that  the  best  is  most  liable  to 
corruption ;  and  that  the  finer  nature  is  more  likely  to  suffer 
from  alien  conditions.  We  too  observe  that  there  are  some  kinds 

The  paradoxical  reply  of  Socrates.  xci 

of  excellence  which  spring  from  a  peculiar  delicacy  of  consti-  Republic 
tution ;  as  is  evidently  true  of  the  poetical  and  imaginative  tern- 
perament,  which  often  seems  to  depend  on  impressions,  and 
hence  can  only  breathe  or  live  in  a  certain  atmosphere.  The 
man  of  genius  has  greater  pains  and  greater  pleasures,  greater 
powers  and  greater  weaknesses,  and  often  a  greater  play  of 
character  than  is  to  be  found  in  ordinary  men.  He  can  assume 
the  disguise  of  virtue  or  disinterestedness  without  having  them, 
or  veil  personal  enmity  in  the  language  of  patriotism  and  philo- 
sophy,—he  can  say  the  word  which  all  men  are  thinking,  he  has 
an  insight  which  is  terrible  into  the  follies  and  weaknesses  of  his 
fellow-men.  An  Alcibiades,  a  Mirabeau,  or  a  Napoleon  the 
First,  are  born  either  to  be  the  authors  of  great  evils  in  states, 
or  *  of  great  good,  when  they  are  drawn  in  that  direction.' 

Yet  the  thesis,  '  corruptio  optimi  pessima,'  cannot  be  maintained 
generally  or  without  regard  to  the  kind  of  excellence  which  is 
corrupted.  The  alien  conditions  which  are  corrupting  to  one 
nature,  may  be  the  elements  of  culture  to  another.  In  general 
a  man  can  only  receive  his  highest  development  in  a  congenial 
state  or  family,  among  friends  or  fellow-workers.  But  also  he 
may  sometimes  be  stirred  by  adverse  circumstances  to  such  a 
degree  that  he  rises  up  against  them  and  reforms  them.  And 
while  weaker  or  coarser  characters  will  extract  good  out  of  evil, 
say  in  a  corrupt  state  of  the  church  or  of  society,  and  live  on 
happily,  allowing  the  evil  to  remain,  the  finer  or  stronger  natures 
may  be  crushed  or  spoiled  by  surrounding  influences — may  be- 
come misanthrope  and  philanthrope  by  turns  ;  or  in  a  few 
instances,  like  the  founders  of  the  monastic  orders,  or  the  Re- 
formers, owing  to  some  peculiarity  in  themselves  or  in  their  age, 
may  break  away  entirely  from  the  world  and  from  the  church, 
sometimes  into  great  good,  sometimes  into  great  evil,  sometimes 
into  both.  And  the  same  holds  in  the  lesser  sphere  of  a  convent, 
a  school,  a  family. 

Plato  would  have  us  consider  how  easily  the  best  natures  are 
overpowered  by  public  opinion,  and  what  efforts  the  rest  of  man- 
kind will  make  to  get  possession  of  them.  The  world,  the 
church,  their  own  profession,  any  political  or  party  organization, 
are  always  carrying  them  off  their  legs  and  teaching  them  to 
apply  high  and  holy  names  to  their  own  prejudices  and  interests. 

xcu  The  better  mind  of  the  many. 

Republic   The  'monster'  corporation  to  which  they  belong  judges  right 
and  truth  to  be  the  pleasure  of  the  community.    The  individual 

TION,      becomes  one  with  his  order ;   or,  if  he  resists,  the  world  is  too 

much  for  him,  and  will  sooner  or  later  be  revenged  on  him. 
This  is,  perhaps,  a  one-sided  but  not  wholly  untrue  picture  of  the 
maxims  and  practice  of  mankind  when  they  'sit  down  together 
at  an  assembly,'  either  in  ancient  or  modern  times. 

When  the  higher  natures  are  corrupted  by  politics,  the  lower 
take  possession  of  the  vacant  place  of  philosophy.  This  is  de- 
scribed in  one  of  those  continuous  images  in  which  the  argument, 
to  use  a  Platonic  expression, '  veils  herself,'  and  which  is  dropped 
and  reappears  at  intervals.  The  question  is  asked, — Why  are 
the  citizens  of  states  so  hostile  to  philosophy  ?  The  answer  is, 
that  they  do  not  know  her.  And.  yet  there  is  also  a  better  mind 
of  the  many;  they  would  believe  if  they  were  taught.  But 
hitherto  they  have  only  known  a  conventional  imitation  of  philo- 
sophy, words  without  thoughts,  systems  which  have  no  life  in 
them ;  a  [divine]  person  uttering  the  words  of  beauty  and  free- 
dom, the  friend  of  man  holding  communion  with  the  Eternal, 
and  seeking  to  frame  the  state  in  that  image,  they  have  never 
known.  The  same  double  feeling  respecting  the  mass  of  man* 
kind  has  always  existed  among  men.  The  first  thought  is  that 
the  people  are  the  enemies  of  truth  and  right ;  the  second,  that 
this  only  arises  out  of  an  accidental  error  and  confusion,  and  that 
they  do  not  really  hate  those  who  love  them,  if  they  could  be 
educated  to  know  them. 

In  the  latter  part  of  the  sixth  book,  three  questions  have  to  be 
considered :  ist,  the  nature  of  the  longer  and  more  circuitous 
way,  which  is  contrasted  with  the  shorter  and  more  imperfect 
method  of  Book  IV;  and,  the  heavenly  pattern  or  idea  of  the 
state ;  3rd,  the  relation  of  the  divisions  of  knowledge  to  one 
another  and  to  the  corresponding  faculties  of  the  soul. 

i.  Of  the  higher  method  of  knowledge  in  Plato  we  have  only  a 
glimpse.  Neither  here  nor  in  the  Phaedrus  or  Symposium,  nor 
yet  in  the  Philebus  or  Sophist,  does  he  give  any  clear  explanation 
of  his  meaning.  He  would  probably  have  described  his  method 
as  proceeding  by  regular  steps  to  a  system  of  universal  know- 
ledge, which  inferred  the  parts  from  the  whole  rather  than  the 
whole  from  the  parts.  This  ideal  logic  is  not  practised  by  him 

The  better  and  longer  way.  xciii 

in  the  search  after  justice,  or  in  the  analysis  of  the  parts  of  the  Republic 
soul ;  there,  like  Aristotle  in  the  Nicomachean  Ethics,  he  argues 
from  experience  and  the  common  use  of  language.  But  at  the 
end  of  the  sixth  book  he  conceives  another  and  more  perfect 
method,  in  which  all  ideas  are  only  steps  or  grades  or  moments 
of  thought,  forming  a  connected  whole  which  is  self-supporting, 
and  in  which  consistency  is  the  test  of  truth.  He  does  not 
explain  to  us  in  detail  the  nature  of  the  process.  Like  many 
other  thinkers  both  in  ancient  and  modern  times  his  mind  seems 
to  be  filled  with  a  vacant  form  which  he  is  unable  to  realize.  He 
supposes  the  sciences  to  have  a  natural  order  and  connexion  in 
an  age  when  they  can  hardly  be  said  to  exist.  He  is  hastening 
on  to  the  '  end  of  the  intellectual  world '  without  even  making  a 
beginning  of  them. 

In  modern  times  we  hardly  need  to  be  reminded  that  the 
process  of  acquiring  knowledge  is  here  confused  with  the  con- 
templation of  absolute  knowledge.  In  all  science  a  priori  and 
a  posteriori  truths  mingle  in  various  proportions.  The  a  priori 
part  is  that  which  is  derived  from  the  most  universal  experience 
of  men,  or  is  universally  accepted  by  them ;  the  a  posteriori  is 
that  which  grows  up  around  the  more  general  principles  and 
becomes  imperceptibly  one  with  them.  But  Plato  erroneously 
imagines  that  the  synthesis  is  separable  from  the  analysis,  and 
that  the  method  of  science  can  anticipate  science.  In  entertaining 
such  a  vision  of  a  priori  knowledge  he  is  sufficiently  justified, 
or  at  least  his  meaning  may  be  sufficiently  explained  by  the 
similar  attempts  of  Descartes,  Kant,  Hegel,  and  even  of  Bacon 
himself,  in  modern  philosophy.  Anticipations  or  divinations,  or 
prophetic  glimpses  of  truths  whether  concerning  man  or  nature, 
seem  to  stand  in  the  same  relation  to  ancient  philosophy  which 
hypotheses  bear  to  modern  inductive  science.  These  ( guesses 
at  truth '  were  not  made  at  random ;  they  arose  from  a  superficial 
impression  of  uniformities  and  first  principles  in  nature  which 
the  genius  of  the  Greek,  contemplating  the  expanse  of  heaven  and 
earth,  seemed  to  recognize  in  the  distance.  Nor  can  we  deny 
that  in  ancient  times  knowledge  must  have  stood  still,  and  the 
human  mind  been  deprived  of  the  very  instruments  of  thought, 
if  philosophy  had  been  strictly  confined  to  the  results  of  ex- 

xciv  The  confusion  of  ideas  and  numbers. 

Republic       2.  Plato  supposes  that  when  the  tablet  has  been  made  blank  the 
artist  will  fill  in  the  lineaments  of  the  ideal  state.     Is  this  a  pattern 

TION,      laid  up  in  heaven,  or  mere  vacancy  on  which  he  is  supposed  to 

gaze  with  wondering  eye?  The  answer  is,  that  such  ideals  are 
framed  partly  by  the  omission  of  particulars,  partly  by  imagina- 
tion perfecting  the  form  which  experience  supplies  (Phaedo,  74). 
Plato  represents  these  ideals  in  a  figure  as  belonging  to  another 
world ;  and  in  modern  times  the  idea  will  sometimes  seem  to 
precede,  at  other  times  to  co-operate  with  the  hand  of  the  artist. 
As  in  science,  so  also  in  creative  art,  there  is  a  synthetical  as  well 
as  an  analytical  method.  One  man  will  have  the  whole  in  his 
mind  before  he  begins;  to  another  the  processes  of  mind  and 
hand  will  be  simultaneous. 

3.  There  is  no  difficulty  in  seeing  that  Plato's  divisions  of 
knowledge  are  based,  first,  on  the  fundamental  antithesis  of 
sensible  and  intellectual  which  pervades  the  whole  pre-Socratic 
philosophy ;  in  which  is  implied  also  the  opposition  of  the  per- 
manent and  transient,  of  the  universal  and  particular.  But  the 
age  of  philosophy  in  which  he  lived  seemed  to  require  a  further 
distinction ; — numbers  and  figures  were  beginning  to  separate 
from  ideas.  The  world  could  no  longer  regard  justice  as  a  cube, 
and  was  learning  to  see,  though  imperfectly,  that  the  abstractions 
of  sense  were  distinct  from  the  abstractions  of  mind.  Between 
the  Eleatic  being  or  essence  and  the  shadows  of  phenomena, 
the  Pythagorean  principle  of  number  found  a  place,  and  was, 
as  Aristotle  remarks,  a  conducting  medium  from  one  to  the  other. 
Hence  Plato  is  led  to  introduce  a  third  term  which  had  not 
hitherto  entered  into  the  scheme  of  his  philosophy.  He  had  ob- 
served the  use  of  mathematics  in  education ;  they  were  the  best 
preparation  for  higher  studies.  The  subjective  relation  between 
them  further  suggested  an  objective  one;  although  the  passage 
from  one  to  the  other  is  really  imaginary  (Metaph.  i,  6,  4).  For 
metaphysical  and  moral  philosophy  has  no  connexion  with  mathe- 
matics ;  number  and  figure  are  the  abstractions  of  time  and  space, 
not  the  expressions  of  purely  intellectual  conceptions.  When 
divested  of  metaphor,  a  straight  line  or  a  square  has  no  more 
to  do  with  right  and  justice  than  a  crooked  line  with  vice.  The 
figurative  association  was  mistaken  for  a  real  one ;  and  thus  the 
three  latter  divisions  of  the  Platonic  proportion  were  constructed. 

The  correlation  of  the  faculties.  xcv 

There  is  more  difficulty  in  comprehending  how  he  arrived  at  Republic 
the  first  term  of  the  series,  which  is  nowhere  else  mentioned,  INTROOUC 
and  has  no  reference  to  any  other  part  of  his  system.  Nor  indeed  TION- 
does  the  relation  of  shadows  to  objects  correspond  to  the  relation 
of  numbers  to  ideas.  Probably  Plato  has  been  led  by  the  love 
of  analogy  (cp.  Timaeus,  p.  32  B)  to  make  four  terms  instead  of 
three,  although  the  objects  perceived  in  both  divisions  of  the 
lower  sphere  are  equally  objects  of  sense.  He  is  also  preparing 
the  way,  as  his  manner  is,  for  the  shadows  of  images  at  the  begin- 
ning of  the  seventh  book,  and  the  imitation  of  an  imitation  in 
the  tenth.  The  line  may  be  regarded  as  reaching  from  unity 
to  infinity,  and  is  divided  into  two  unequal  parts,  and  subdivided 
into  two  more;  each  lower  sphere  is  the  multiplication  of  the 
preceding.  Of  the  four  faculties,  faith  in  the  lower  division  has  an 
intermediate  position  (cp.  for  the  use  of  the  word  faith  or  belief, 
Tn'o-ris,  Timaeus,  29  C,  37  B),  contrasting  equally  with  the  vagueness 
of  the  perception  of  shadows  (ei/cao-t'a)  and  the  higher  certainty  of 
understanding  (dtavoia)  and  reason  (i/ous). 

The  difference  between  understanding  and  mind  or  reason 
(vovs)  is  analogous  to  the  difference  between  acquiring  know- 
ledge in  the  parts  and  the  contemplation  of  the  whole.  True 
knowledge  is  a  whole,  and  is  at  rest ;  consistency  and  universality 
are  the  tests  of  truth.  To  this  self-evidencing  knowledge  of  the 
whole  the  faculty  of  mind  is  supposed  to  correspond.  But  there 
is  a  knowledge  of  the  understanding  which  is  incomplete  and 
in  motion  always,  because  unable  to  rest  in  the  subordinate  ideas. 
Those  ideas  are  called  both  images  and  hypotheses — images 
because  they  are  clothed  in  sense,  hypotheses  because  they  are 
assumptions  only,  until  they  are  brought  into  connexion  with  the 
idea  of  good. 

The  general  meaning  of  the  passage  508-511,  so  far  as  the 
thought  contained  in  it  admits  of  being  translated  into  the  terms  of 
modern  philosophy,  may  be  described  or  explained  as  follows : — 
There  is  a  truth,  one  and  self-existent,  to  which  by  the  help  of 
a  ladder  let  down  from  above,  the  human  intelligence  may  ascend. 
This  unity  is  like  the  sun  in  the  heavens,  the  light  by  which 
all  things  are  seen,  the  being  by  which  they  are  created  and 
sustained.  It  is  the  idea  of  good.  And  the  steps  of  the  ladder 
leading  up  to  this  highest  or  universal  existence  are  the  mathe- 

xcvi  The  idea  of  good,  etc. 

Republic   matical  sciences,  which  also  contain  in  themselves  an  element 

INTRODUC-   °^  ^  universal.    These,  too,  we  see  in  a  new  manner  when  we 

no*,       connect  them  with  the  idea  of  good.    They  then  cease  to  be 

hypotheses  or  pictures,  and  become  essential  parts  of  a  higher 

truth  which  is  at  once  their  first  principle  and  their  final  cause. 

We  cannot  give  any  more  precise  meaning  to  this  remarkable 
passage,  but  we  may  trace  in  it  several  rudiments  or  vestiges 
of  thought  which  are  common  to  us  and  to  Plato  :  such  as  (i)  the 
unity  and  correlation  of  the  sciences,  or  rather  of  science,  for  in 
Plato's  time  they  were  not  yet  parted  off  or  distinguished  ;  (2)  the 
existence  of  a  Divine  Power,  or  life  or  idea  or  cause  or  reason, 
not  yet  conceived  or  no  longer  conceived  as  in  the  Timaeus  and 
elsewhere  under  the  form  of  a  person ;  (3)  the  recognition  of 
the  hypothetical  and  conditional  character  of  the  mathematical 
sciences,  and  in  a  measure  of  every  science  when  isolated  from 
the  rest;  (4)  the  conviction  of  a  truth  which  is  invisible,  and 
of  a  law,  though  hardly  a  law  of  nature,  which  permeates  the 
intellectual  rather  than  the  visible  world. 

The  method  of  Socrates  is  hesitating  and  tentative,  awaiting  the 
fuller  explanation  of  the  idea  of  good,  and  of  the  nature  of  dialectic 
in  the  seventh  book.  The  imperfect  intelligence  of  Glaucon,  and 
the  reluctance  of  Socrates  to  make  a  beginning,  mark  the  difficulty 
of  the  subject.  The  allusion  to  Theages'  bridle,  and  to  the 
internal  oracle,  or  demonic  sign,  of  Socrates,  which  here,  as 
always  in  Plato,  is  only  prohibitory ;  the  remark  that  the  salva- 
tion of  any  remnant  of  good  in  the  present  evil  state  of  the 
world  is  due  to  God  only;  the  reference  to  a  future  state  of 
existence,  498  D,  which  is  unknown  to  Glaucon  in  the  tenth 
book,  608  D,  and  in  which  the  discussions  of  Socrates  and  his 
disciples  would  be  resumed ;  the  surprise  in  the  answers  at  487  E 
and  497  B ;  the  fanciful  irony  of  Socrates,  where  he  pretends 
that  he  can  only  describe  the  strange  position  of  the  philo- 
sopher in  a  figure  of  speech ;  the  original  observation  that  the 
Sophists,  after  all,  are  only  the  representatives  and  not  the 
leaders  of  public  opinion ;  the  picture  of  the  philosopher  standing 
aside  in  the  shower  of  sleet  under  a  wall;  the  figure  of  'the 
great  beast '  followed  by  the  expression  of  good-will  towards  the 
common  people  who  would  not  have  rejected  the  philosopher 
if  they  had  known  him ;  the  'right  noble  thought'  that  the  highest 

The  Idea  of  Good.  xcvii 

truths  demand  the  greatest  exactness ;  the  hesitation  of  Socrates    Republic 
in  returning  once  more  to  his  well-worn  theme  of  the  idea  of 

t         •  INTRODUC- 

good ;   the  ludicrous  earnestness  of  Glaucon ;   the  comparison  of      «ON. 
philosophy  to  a  deserted  maiden  who  marries  beneath  her — are 
some  of  the  most  interesting  characteristics  of  the  sixth  book. 

Yet  a  few  more  words  may  be  added,  on  the  old  theme,  which 
was  so  oft  discussed  in  the  Socratic  circle,  of  which  we,  like 
Glaucon  and  Adeimantus,  would  fain,  if  possible,  have  a  clearer 
notion.  Like  them,  we  are  dissatisfied  when  we  are  told  that 
the  idea  of  good  can  only  be  revealed  to  a  student  of  the  mathe- 
matical sciences,  and  we  are  inclined  to  think  that  neither  we 
nor  they  could  have  been  led  along  that  path  to  any  satisfactory 
goal.  For  we  have  learned  that  differences  of  quantity  cannot 
pass  into  differences  of  quality,  and  that  the  mathematical  sciences 
can  never  rise  above  themselves  into  the  sphere  of  our  higher 
thoughts,  although  they  may  sometimes  furnish  symbols  and 
expressions  of  them,  and  may  train  the  mind  in  habits  of  abstrac- 
tion and  self-concentration.  The  illusion  which  was  natural  to 
an  ancient  philosopher  has  ceased  to  be  an  illusion  to  us.  But 
if  the  process  by  which  we  are  supposed  to  arrive  at  the  idea 
of  good  be  really  imaginary,  may  not  the  idea  itself  be  also  a 
mere  abstraction?  We  remark,  first,  that  in  all  ages,  and 
especially  in  primitive  philosophy,  words  such  as  being,  essence, 
unity,  good,  have  exerted  an  extraordinary  influence  over  the 
minds  of  men.  The  meagreness  or  negativeness  of  their  content 
has  been  in  an  inverse  ratio  to  their  power.  They  have  become 
the  forms  under  which  all  things  were  comprehended.  There 
was  a  need  or  instinct  in  the  human  soul  which  they  satisfied; 
they  were  not  ideas,  but  gods,  and  to  this  new  mythology  the  men 
of  a  later  generation  began  to  attach  the  powers  and  associations 
of  the  elder  deities. 

The  idea  of  good  is  one  of  those  sacred  words  or  forms  of 
thought,  which  were  beginning  to  take  the  place  of  the  old 
mythology.  It  meant  unity,  in  which  all  time  and  all  existence 
were  gathered  up.  It  was  the  truth  of  all  things,  and  also  the  light 
in  which  they  shone  forth,  and  became  evident  to  intelligences 
human  and  divine.  It  was  the  cause  of  all  things,  the  power  by 
which  they  were  brought  into  being.  It  was  the  universal  reason 
divested  of  a  human  personality.  It  was  the  life  as  well  as  the 


xcviii  The  Idea  of  Good. 

Republic   light  of  the  world,  all  knowledge  and  all  power  were  compre- 

INTR<>DUC    Bended  *n  **•     The  way  to   ^  was   through  the  mathematical 

"ON.       sciences,  and  these  too  were  dependent  on  it.    To  ask  whether 

God  was  the  maker  of  it,  or  made  by  it,  would  be  like  asking 

whether  God  could  be  conceived  apart  from  goodness,  or  goodness 

apart  from  God.    The  God  of  the  Timaeus  is  not  really  at  variance 

with  the  idea  of  good ;   they  are  aspects  of  the  same,  differing 

only  as  the  personal  from  the  impersonal,  or  the  masculine  from 

the  neuter,  the  one  being  the  expression  or  language  of  mythology, 

the  other  of  philosophy. 

This,  or  something  like  this,  is  the  meaning  of  the  idea  of  good 
as  conceived  by  Plato.  Ideas  of  number,  order,  harmony,  de- 
velopment may  also  be  said  to  enter  into  it.  The  paraphrase 
which  has  just  been  given  of  it  goes  beyond  the  actual  words  of 
Plato.  We  have  perhaps  arrived  at  the  stage  of  philosophy  which 
enables  us  to  understand  what  he  is  aiming  at,  better  than  he  did 
himself.  We  are  beginning  to  realize  what  he  saw  darkly  and 
at  a  distance.  But  if  he  could  have  been  told  that  this,  or  some 
conception  of  the  same  kind,  but  higher  than  this,  was  the  truth 
at  which  he  was  aiming,  and  the  need  which  he  sought  to  supply, 
he  would  gladly  have  recognized  that  more  was  contained  in  his 
own  thoughts  than  he  himself  knew.  As  his  words  are  few  and 
his  manner  reticent  and  tentative,  so  must  the  style  of  his  inter- 
preter be.  We  should  not  approach  his  meaning  more  nearly 
by  attempting  to  define  it  further.  In  translating  him  into  the 
language  of  modern  thought,  we  might  insensibly  lose  the  spirit 
of  ancient  philosophy.  It  is  remarkable  that  although  Plato 
speaks  of  the  idea  of  good  as  the  first  principle  of  truth  and 
being,  it  is  nowhere  mentioned  in  his  writings  except  in  this 
passage.  Nor  did  it  retain  any  hold  upon  the  minds  of  his 
disciples  in  a  later  generation ;  it  was  probably  unintelligible  to 
them.  Nor  does  the  mention  of  it  in  Aristotle  appear  to  have 
any  reference  to  this  or  any  other  passage  in  his  extant  writings. 

ANALYSIS.        BOOK  VII.      And    now    I    will    describe    in    a    figure    the  Steph. 
enlightenment    or    unenlightenment    of    our    nature : — Imagine    * 
human   beings  living    in    an    underground    den   which    is  open 
towards  the  light ;  they  have  been  there  from  childhood,  hav- 
ing their  necks  and  legs  chained,  and  can  only  see  into  the  den. 

Analysis  514-517.  xcix 

At  a  distance  there  is  a  fire,  and    between  the  fire  and   the   Republic 

prisoners  a  raised  way,  and  a  low  wall  is  built  along  the  way,    ANALVS'JS 

like  the  screen  over  which  marionette  players  show  their 
515  puppets.  Behind  the  wall  appear  moving  figures,  who  hold  in 
their  hands  various  works  of  art,  and  among  them  images  of 
men  and  animals,  wood  and  stone,  and  some  of  the  passers-by 
are  talking  and  others  silent.  '  A  strange  parable,'  he  said,  '  and 
strange  captives.'  They  are  ourselves,  I  replied ;  and  they  see 
only  the  shadows  of  the  images  which  the  fire  throws  on  the  wall 
of  the  den ;  to  these  they  give  names,  and  if  we  add  an  echo  which 
returns  from  the  wall,  the  voices  of  the  passengers  will  seem 
to  proceed  from  the  shadows.  Suppose  now  that  you  suddenly 
turn  them  round  and  make  them  look  with  pain  and  grief  to  them- 
selves at  the  real  images;  will  they  believe  them  to  be  real.? 
Will  not  their  eyes  be  dazzled,  and  will  they  not  try  to  get  away 
from  the  light  to  something  which  they  are  able  to  behold  without 

516  blinking  ?    And  suppose  further,  that  they  are  dragged  up  a  steep 
and  rugged  ascent  into  the  presence  of  the  sun  himself,  will  not 
their  sight  be  darkened  with  the  excess  of  light  ?    Some  time  will 
pass  before  they  get  the  habit  of  perceiving  at  all ;  and  at  first 
they  will  be  able  to  perceive  only  shadows  and  reflections  in  the 
water ;  then  they  will  recognize  the  moon  and  the  stars,  and  will 
at  length  behold  the  sun  in  his  own  proper  place  as  he  is.    Last 
of  all  they  will  conclude  : — This  is  he  who  gives  us  the  year  and 
the  seasons,  and  is  the  author  of  all  that  we  see.     How  will  they 
rejoice  in  passing  from  darkness  to  light !      How  worthless  to 
them  will  seem  the  honours  and  glories  of  the  den  !     But  now 
imagine  further,  that  they  descend  into  their  old  habitations ; — 
in  that  underground  dwelling  they  will  not  see  as  well  as  their 

517  fellows,  and  will  not  be  able  to  compete  with  them  in  the  measure- 
ment of  the  shadows  on  the  wall ;  there  will  be  many  jokes  about 
the  man  who  went  on  a  visit  to  the  sun  and  lost  his  eyes,  and 
if  they  find  anybody  trying  to  set  free  and  enlighten  one  of  their 
number,  they  will  put  him  to  death,  if  they  can  catch  him.     Now- 
the  cave  or  den  is  the  world  of  sight,  the  fire  is  the  sun,  the  way 
upwards  is  the  way  to  knowledge,  and  in  the  world  of  knowledge 
the  idea  of  good  is  last  seen  and  with  difficulty,  but  when  seen 

.    is  inferred  to  be  the  author  of  good  and  right — parent  of  the  lord 
of  light  in  this  world,  and  of  truth  and  understanding  in  the  other. 


:  Analysis  517-520. 

Republic    He  who  attains  to  the  beatific  vision  is  always  going  upwards ; 


he  is  unwilling  to  descend  into  political  assemblies  and  courts 

of  law ;  for  his  eyes  are  apt  to  blink  at  the  images  or  shadows 
of  images  which  they  behold  in  them — he  cannot  enter  into  the 
ideas  of  those  who  have  never  in  their  lives  understood  the 
relation  of  the  shadow  to  the  substance.  But  blindness  is  of  518 
two  kinds,  and  may  be  caused  either  by  passing  out  of  darkness 
into  light  or  out  of  light  into  darkness,  and  a  man  of  sense 
will  distinguish  between  them,  and  will  not  laugh  equally  at 
both  of  them,  but  the  blindness  which  arises  from  fulness  of 
light  he  will  deem  blessed,  and  pity  the  other;  or  if  he  laugh 
at  the  puzzled  soul  looking  at  the  sun,  he  will  have  more  reason  to 
laugh  than  the  inhabitants  of  the  den  at  those  who  descend  from 
above.  There  is  a  further  lesson  taught  by  this  parable  of  ours. 
Some  persons  fancy  that  instruction  is  like  giving  eyes  to  the 
blind,  but  we  say  that  the  faculty  of  sight  was  always  there, 
and  that  the  soul  only  requires  to  be  turned  round  towards  the 
light.  And  this  is  conversion  ;  other  virtues  are  almost  like  bodily 
habits,  and  may  be  acquired  in  the  same  manner,  but  intelligence 
has  a  diviner  life,  and  is  indestructible,  turning  either  to  good 
or  evil  according  to  the  direction  given.  Did  you  never  observe  519 
how  the  mind  of  a  clever  rogue  peers  out  of  his  eyes,  and  the 
more  clearly  he  sees,  the  more  evil  he  does  ?  Now  if  you  take 
such  an  one,  and  cut  away  from  him  those  leaden  weights  of 
pleasure  and  desire  which  bind  his  soul  to  earth,  his  intelligence 
will  be  turned  round,  and  he  will  behold  the  truth  as  clearly  as 
he  now  discerns  his  meaner  ends.  And  have  we  not  decided 
that  our  rulers  must  neither  be  so  uneducated  as  to  have  no  fixed 
rule  of  life,  nor  so  over-educated  as  to  be  unwilling  to  leave 
their  paradise  for  the  business  of  the  world  ?  We  must  choose 
out  therefore  the  natures  who  are  most  likely  to  ascend  to  the 
light  and  knowledge  of  the  good  ;  but  we  must  not  allow  them  to 
remain  in  the  region  of  light ;  they  must  be  forced  down  again 
among  the  captives  in  the  den  to  partake  of  their  labours  and 
honours.  '  Will  they  not  think  this  a  hardship  ? '  You  should 
remember  that  our  purpose  in  framing  the  State  was  not  that 
our  citizens  should  do  what  they  like,  but  that  they  should  serve 
the  State  for  the  common  good  of  all.  May  we  not  fairly  say  520 
to  our  philosopher, — Friend,  we  do  you  no  wrong ;  for  in  other 

Analysis  520-523.  ci 

States  philosophy  grows  wild,  and  a  wild  plant  owes  nothing    Republic 
to  the  gardener,  but  you  have  been  trained  by  us  to  be  the  rulers       VI1' 


and  kings  of  our  hive,  and  therefore  we  must  insist  on  your 
descending  into  the  den.  You  must,  each  of  you,  take  your  turn, 
and  become  able  to  use  your  eyes  in  the  dark,  and  with  a  little 
practice  you  will  see  far  better  than  those  who  quarrel  about 
the  shadows,  whose  knowledge  is  a  dream  only,  whilst  yours 
is  a  waking  reality.  It  may  be  that  the  saint  or  philosopher  who 
is  best  fitted,  may  also  be  the  least  inclined  to  rule,  but  necessity 
is  laid  upon  him,  and  he  must  no  longer  live  in  the  heaven  of 
|2i  ideas.  And  this  will  be  the  salvation  of  the  State.  For  those  who 
rule  must  not  be  those  who  are  desirous  to  rule  ;  and,  if  you  can 
oifer  to  our  citizens  a  better  life  than  that  of  rulers  generally  is, 
there  will  be  a  chance  that  the  rich,  not  only  in  this  world's  goods, 
but  in  virtue  and  wisdom,  may  bear  rule.  And  the  only  life 
which  is  better  than  the  life  of  political  ambition  is  that  of  philo- 
sophy, which  is  also  the  best  preparation  for  the  government 
of  a  State. 

Then  now  comes  the  question, — How  shall  we  create  our  rulers ; 
what  way  is  there  from  darkness  to  light  ?  The  change  is  effected 
by  philosophy ;  it  is  not  the  turning  over  of  an  oyster-shell,  but 
the  conversion  of  a  soul  from  night  to  day,  from  becoming  to 
being.  And  what  training  will  draw  the  soul  upwards?  Our 
former  education  had  two  branches,  gymnastic,  which  was 
occupied  with  the  body,  and  music,  the  sister  art,  which  infused  a 

22  natural  harmony  into  mind  and  literature ;  but  neither  of  these 
sciences  gave  any  promise  of  doing  what  we  want.     Nothing  re- 
mains to  us  but  that  universal  or  primary  science  of  which  all  the 
arts  and  sciences  are  partakers,  I  mean  number  or  calculation. 
*  Very  true.'    Including  the  art  of  war  ?    *  Yes,  certainly.'    Then 
there  is  something  ludicrous  about   Palamedes  in  the  tragedy, 
coming  in  and  saying  that  he  had   invented   number,  and  had 
counted  the  ranks  and  set  them  in  order.    For  if  Agamemnon 
could  not  count  his  feet  (and  without  number  how  could  he  ?)  he 
must  have  been  a  pretty  sort  of  general  indeed.     No  man  should 
be  a  soldier  who  cannot  count,  and  indeed  he  is  hardly  to  be 
called  a  man.     But  I  am  not  speaking  of  these  practical  applica-* 

23  tions  of  arithmetic,  for  number,  in  my  view,  is  rather  to  be 
regarded  as  a  conductor  to  thought  and  being.    I  will  explain 

cii  Analysis  525-526. 

Republic  what  I  mean  by  the  last  expression :— Things  sensible  are  of  two 
ANALYSIS  kinc^s  5  tne  one  class  invite  or  stimulate  the  mind,  while  in  the 
other  the  mind  acquiesces.  Now  the  stimulating  class  are  the 
things  which  suggest  contrast  and  relation.  For  example,  suppose 
that  I  hold  up  to  the  eyes  three  fingers — a  fore  finger,  a  middle 
finger,  a  little  finger — the  sight  equally  recognizes  all  three 
fingers,  but  without  number  cannot  further  distinguish  them.  Or 
again,  suppose  two  objects  to  be  relatively  great  and  small,  these 
ideas  of  greatness  and  smallness  are  supplied  not  by  the  sense, 
but  by  the  mind.  And  the  perception  of  their  contrast  or  relation  524 
quickens  and  sets  in  motion  the  mind,  which  is  puzzled  by  the 
confused  intimations  of  sense,  and  has  recourse  to  number  in  order 
to  find  out  whether  the  things  indicated  are  one  or  more  than 
one.  Number  replies  that  they  are  two  and  not  one,  and  are  to 
be  distinguished  from  one  another.  Again,  the  sight  beholds 
great  and  small,  but  only  in  a  confused  chaos,  and  not  until  they 
are  distinguished  does  the  question  arise  of  their  respective 
natures ;  we  are  thus  led  on  to  the  distinction  between  the  visible 
and  intelligible.  That  was  what  I  meant  when  I  spoke  of  stimu- 
lants to  the  intellect ;  I  was  thinking  of  the  contradictions  which 
arise  in  perception.  The  idea  of  unity,  for  example,  like  that  of  a 
finger,  does  not  arouse  thought  unless  involving  some  conception 
of  plurality ;  but  when  the  one  is  also  the  opposite  of  one,  the  525 
contradiction  gives  rise  to  reflection ;  an  example  of  this  is 
afforded  by  any  object  of  sight.  All  number  has  also  an  elevating 
effect ;  it  raises  the  mind  out  of  the  foam  and  flux  of  generation  to 
the  contemplation  of  being,  having  lesser  military  and  retail  uses 
also.  The  retail  use  is  not  required  by  us  ;  but  as  our  guardian  is 
to  be  a  soldier  as  well  as  a  philosopher,  the  military  one  may  be 
retained.  And  to  our  higher  purpose  no  science  can  be  better 
adapted ;  but  it  must  be  pursued  in  the  spirit  of  a  philosopher,  not 
of  a  shopkeeper.  It  is  concerned,  not  with  visible  objects,  but 
with  abstract  truth ;  for  numbers  are  pure  abstractions— the  true 
arithmetician  indignantly  denies  that  his  unit  is  capable  of  division. 
When  you  divide,  he  insists  that  you  are  only  multiplying ;  his  526 
'  one '  is  not  material  or  resolvable  into  fractions,  but  an  unvarying 
and  absolute  equality;  and  this  proves  the  purely  intellectual 
character  of  his  study.  Note  also  the  great  power  which  arith- 
metic has  of  sharpening  the  wits ;  no  other  discipline  is  equally 

Analysis  526—528.  ciii 

severe,  or  an  equal  test  of  general  ability,  or  equally  improving  to    Republic 
a  stupid  person. 

Let  our  second  branch  of  education  be  geometry.  *  I  can  easily 
see,'  replied  Glaucon,  *  that  the  skill  of  the  general  will  be  doubled 
by  his  knowledge  of  geometry.'  That  is  a  small  matter ;  the  use 
of  geometry,  to  which  I  refer,  is  the  assistance  given  by  it  in  the 
contemplation  of  the  idea  of  good,  and  the  compelling  the  mind  to 
look  at  true  being,  and  not  at  generation  only.  Yet  the  present 
mode  of  pursuing  these  studies,  as  any  one  who  is  the  least  of  a 
mathematician  is  aware,  is  mean  and  ridiculous  ;  they  are  made  to 
look  downwards  to  the  arts,  and  not  upwards  to  eternal  existence. 

527  The  geometer  is  always  talking  of  squaring,  subtending,  apposing, 
as  if  he  had  in  view  action  ;  whereas  knowledge  is  the  real  object 
of  the  study.    It  should  elevate  the  soul,  and  create  the  mind  of 
philosophy ;  it  should  raise  up  what  has  fallen  down,  not  to  speak 
of  lesser  uses  in  war  and  military  tactics,  and  in  the  improvement 
of  the  faculties. 

Shall  we  propose,  as  a  third  branch  of  our  education,  astronomy  ? 
*  Very  good,'  replied  Glaucon  ;  '  the  knowledge  of  the  heavens  is 
necessary  at  once  for  husbandry,  navigation,  military  tactics.'  I 
like  your  way  of  giving  useful  reasons  for  everything  in  order  to 
make  friends  of  the  world.  And  there  is  a  difficulty  in  proving  to 
mankind  that  education  is  not  only  useful  information  but  a 
purification  of  the  eye  of  the  soul,  which  is  better  than  the  bodily 

528  eye,  for  by  this  alone  is  truth  seen.     Now,  will  you  appeal  to  man- 
kind in  general  or  to  the  philosopher  ?  or  would  you  prefer  to  look 
to  yourself  only?     'Every  man  is  his  own  best  friend.'    Then 
take  a  step  backward,  for  we  are  out  of  order,  and  insert  the  third 
dimension  which  is  of  solids,  after  the  second  which  is  of  planes, 
and  then  you  may  proceed  to  solids  in  motion.    But  solid  geometry 
is  not  popular  and  has  not  the  patronage  of  the  State,  nor  is  the  use 
of  it  fully  recognized  ;  the  difficulty  is  great,  and  the  votaries  of  the 
study  are  conceited  and  impatient.    Still  the  charm  of  the  pursuit 
wins  upon  men,  and,  if  government  would  lend  a  little  assistance, 
there  might  be  great  progress  made.   '  Very  true,'  replied  Glaucon ; 
'but  do  I  understand  you  now  to  begin  with   plane  geometry, 
and  to  place  next  geometry  of  solids,  and  thirdly,  astronomy, 
or  the  motion  of  solids?'    Yes,  I  said;    my  hastiness  has  only 
hindered  us. 

civ  Analysis  528-531. 

Republic  '  Very  good,  and  now  let  us  proceed  to  astronomy,  about  which 
ANALYSIS  ^  am  wiping  to  speak  in  your  lofty  strain.  No  one  can  fail  to  see  529 
that  the  contemplation  of  the  heavens  draws  the  soul  upwards.'  I 
am  an  exception,  then ;  astronomy  as  studied  at  present  appears 
to  me  to  draw  the  soul  not  upwards,  but  downwards.  Star-gazing 
is  just  looking  up  at  the  ceiling — no  better;  a  man  may  lie  on 
his  back  on  land  or  on  water — he  may  look  up  or  look  down,  but 
there  is  no  science  in  that.  The  vision  of  knowledge  of  which 
I  speak  is  seen  not  with  the  eyes,  but  with  the  mind.  All  the 
magnificence  of  the  heavens  is  but  the  embroidery  of  a  copy  which 
falls  far  short  of  the  divine  Original,  and  teaches  nothing  about  the 
absolute  harmonies  or  motions  of  things.  Their  beauty  is  like  the 
beauty  of  figures  drawn  by  the  hand  of  Daedalus  or  any  other 
great  artist,  which  may  be  used  for  illustration,  but  no  mathemati-  530 
cian  would  seek  to  obtain  from  them  true  conceptions  of  equality 
or  numerical  relations.  How  ridiculous  then  to  look  for  these  in 
the  map  of  the  heavens,  in  which  the  imperfection  of  matter  comes 
in  everywhere  as  a  disturbing  element,  marring  the  symmetry  of 
day  and  night,  of  months  and  years,  of  the  sun  and  stars  in  their 
courses.  Only  by  problems  can  we  place  astronomy  on  a  truly 
scientific  basis.  Let  the  heavens  alone,  and  exert  the  intellect. 

Still,  mathematics  admit  of  other  applications,  as  the  Pytha- 
goreans say,  and  we  agree.  There  is  a  sister  science  of  harmonical 
motion,  adapted  to  the  ear  as  astronomy  is  to  the  eye,  and  there 
may  be  other  applications  also.  Let  us  inquire  of  the  Pytha- 
goreans about  them,  not  forgetting  that  we  have  an  aim  higher 
than  theirs,  which  is  the  relation  of  these  sciences  to  the  idea 
of  good.  The  error  which  pervades  astronomy  also  pervades 
harmonics.  The  musicians  put  their  ears  in  the  place  of  their  531 
minds.  '  Yes,3  replied  Glaucon,  '  I  like  to  see  them  laying  their 
ears  alongside  of  their  neighbours'  faces — some  saying,  "  That 's  a 
new  note,"  others  declaring  that  the  two  notes  are  the  same.'  Yes, 
I  said ;  but  you  mean  the  empirics  who  are  always  twisting  and 
torturing  the  strings  of  the  lyre,  and  quarrelling  about  the  tempers 
of  the  strings ;  I  am  referring  rather  to  the  Pythagorean  harmonists, 
who  are  almost  equally  in  error.  For  they  investigate  only  the 
numbers  of  the  consonances  which  are  heard,  and  ascend  no 
higher, — of  the  true  numerical  harmony  which  is  unheard,  and  is 
only  to  be  found  in  problems,  they  have  not  even  a  conception. 

Analysis  531-533-  cv 

'That  last,'  he  said,  'must  be  a  marvellous  thing.'    A  thing,  I    RepiMic 
replied,  which  is  only  useful  if  pursued  with  a  view  to  the  good.         ANALYSIS 

All  these  sciences  are  the  prelude  of  the  strain,  and  are  profit- 
able if  they  are  regarded  in  their  natural  relations  to  one  another. 
'  I  dare  say,  Socrates,'  said  Glaucon  ;  '  but  such  a  study  will  be  an 
endless  business.'  What  study  do  you  mean — of  the  prelude,  or 
what  ?  For  all  these  things  are  only  the  prelude,  and  you  surely 
do  not  suppose  that  a  mere  mathematician  is  also  a  dialectician  ? 

532  '  Certainly  not.    I  have  hardly  ever  known  a  mathematician  who 
could  reason.'    And  yet,  Glaucon,  is  not  true  reasoning  that  hymn 
of  dialectic  which  is  the  music  of  the  intellectual  world,  and  which 
was  by  us  compared  to  the  effort  of  sight,  when  from  beholding 
the  shadows  on  the  wall  we  arrived  at  last  at  the  images  which 
gave  the  shadows  ?    Even  so  the  dialectical  faculty  withdrawing 
from  sense  arrives  by  the  pure  intellect  at  the  contemplation  of 
the  idea  of  good,  and  never  rests  but  at  the  very  end  of  the 
intellectual  world.    And  the  royal  road  out  of  the  cave  into  the 
light,  and  the  blinking  of  the  eyes  at  the  sun  and  turning  to 
contemplate  the  shadows  of  reality,  not  the  shadows  of  an  image 
only — this  progress  and  gradual  acquisition  of  a  new  faculty  of 
sight  by  the  help  of  the  mathematical  sciences,  is  the  elevation  of 
the  soul  to  the  contemplation  of  the  highest  ideal  of  being. 

'  So  far,  I  agree  with  you.  But  now,  leaving  the  prelude,  let  us 
proceed  to  the  hymn.  What,  then,  is  the  nature  of  dialectic,  and 

533  what  are  the   paths  which  lead  thither  ? '    Dear  Glaucon,  you 
cannot  follow  me  here.     There    can    be    no  revelation  of  the 
absolute  truth  to  one  who  has  not  been  disciplined  in  the  previous 
sciences.    But  that  there  is  a  science  of  absolute  truth,  which 
is  attained  in  some  way  very  different  from  those  now  practised, 
I  am  confident.    For  all  other  arts  or  sciences  are  relative  to 
human  needs  and  opinions  ;    and  the  mathematical  sciences  are 
but  a  dream  or  hypothesis  of  true  being,  and  never  analyse  their 
own  principles.     Dialectic  alone  rises  to  the  principle  which  is 
above  hypotheses,  converting  and  gently  leading  the  eye  of  the 
soul  out  of  the  barbarous  slough  of  ignorance  into  the  light  of  the 
upper  world,  with  the  help  of  the  sciences  which  we  have  been 
describing — sciences,  as   they  are   often    termed,  although  they 
require  some  other  name,  implying  greater  clearness  than  opinion 
and  less  clearness  than  science,  and  this  in  our  previous  sketch 

cvi  Analysis  533-537. 

Republic  was  understanding.  And  so  we  get  four  names — two  for  intellect, 
and  two  for  opinion, — reason  or  mind,  understanding,  faith,  per- 
ception of  shadows — which  make  a  proportion — being  :  becoming  : :  534 
intellect :  opinion — and  science  :  belief: :  understanding :  perception 
of  shadows.  Dialectic  may  be  further  described  as  that  science 
which  defines  and  explains  the  essence  or  being  of  each  nature, 
which  distinguishes  and  abstracts  the  good,  and  is  ready  to  do 
battle  against  all  opponents  in  the  cause  of  good.  To  him  who  is 
not  a  dialectician  life  is  but  a  sleepy  dream ;  and  many  a  man  is  in 
his  grave  before  he  is  well  waked  up.  And  would  you  have  the 
future  rulers  of  your  ideal  State  intelligent  beings,  or  stupid  as 
posts  ?  '  Certainly  not  the  latter.'  Then  you  must  train  them  in 
dialectic,  which  will  teach  them  to  ask  and  answer  questions,  and 
is  the  coping-stone  of  the  sciences. 

I  dare  say  that  you  have  not  forgotten  how  our  rulers  were  535 
chosen ;  and  the  process  of  selection  may  be  carried  a  step 
further:— As  before,  they  must  be  constant  and  valiant,  good- 
looking,  and  of  noble  manners,  but  now  they  must  also  have 
natural  ability  which  education  will  improve ;  that  is  to  say,  they 
must  be  quick  at  learning,  capable  of  mental  toil,  retentive,  solid, 
diligent  natures,  who  combine  intellectual  with  moral  virtues; 
not  lame  and  one-sided,  diligent  in  bodily  exercise  and  indolent  in 
mind,  or  conversely ;  not  a  maimed  soul,  which  hates  falsehood 
and  yet  unintentionally  is  always  wallowing  in  the  mire  of  5  36 
ignorance ;  not  a  bastard  or  feeble  person,  but  sound  in  wind  and 
limb,  and  in  perfect  condition  for  the  great  gymnastic  trial  of  the 
mind.  Justice  herself  can  find  no  fault  with  natures  such  as  these  ; 
and  they  will  be  the  saviours  of  our  State ;  disciples  of  another 
sort  would  only  make  philosophy  more  ridiculous  than  she  is  at 
present.  Forgive  my  enthusiasm ;  I  am  becoming  excited ;  but 
when  I  see  her  trampled  under  foot,  I  am  angry  at  the  authors  of 
her  disgrace.  '  I  did  not  notice  that  you  were  more  excited  than 
you  ought  to  have  been.'  But  I  felt  that  I  was.  Now  do  not  let 
us  forget  another  point  in  the  selection  of  our  disciples— that  they 
must  be  young  and  not  old.  For  Solon  is  mistaken  in  saying  that 
an  old  man  can  be  always  learning ;  youth  is  the  time  of  study, 
and  here  we  must  remember  that  the  mind  is  free  and  dainty,  and, 
unlike  the  body,  must  not  be  made  to  work  against  the  grain. 
Learning  should  be  at  first  a  sort  of  play,  in  which  the  natural  bent  537 

Analysis  537-539.  cvii 

is  detected.  As  in  training  them  for  war,  the  young  dogs  should  Republic 
at  first  only  taste  blood  ;  but  when  the  necessary  gymnastics  are  ANALYS'IS 
over  which  during  two  or  three  years  divide  life  between  sleep 
and  bodily  exercise,  then  the  education  of  the  soul  will  become  a 
more  serious  matter.  At  twenty  years  of  age,  a  selection  must  be 
made  of  the  more  promising  disciples,  with  whom  a  new  epoch  of 
education  will  begin.  The  sciences  which  they  have  hitherto 
learned  in  fragments  will  now  be  brought  into  relation  with  each 
other  and  with  true  being;  for  the  power  of  combining  them  is  the 
test  of  speculative  and  dialectical  ability.  And  afterwards  at 
thirty  a  further  selection  shall  be  made  of  those  who  are  able  to 
withdraw  from  the  world  of  sense  into  the  abstraction  of  ideas. 
But  at  this  point,  judging  from  present  experience,  there  is  a 
danger  that  dialectic  may  be  the  source  of  many  evils.  The 
danger  may  be  illustrated  by  a  parallel  case  : — Imagine  a  person 
who  has  been  brought  up  in  wealth  and  luxury  amid  a  crowd  of 
flatterers,  and  who  is  suddenly  informed  that  he  is  a  supposititious 

538  son.      He  has  hitherto  honoured  his  reputed  parents  and  dis- 
regarded the  flatterers,  and  now  he  does  the  reverse.    This  is  just 
what  happens  with  a    man's    principles.       There    are    certain 
doctrines  which  he  learnt  at  home  and  which  exercised  a  parental 
authority  over  him.    Presently  he  finds  that  imputations  are  cast 
upon  them ;  a  troublesome  querist  comes  and  asks,  *  What  is  the 
just  and  good  ? '  or  proves  that  virtue  is  vice  and  vice  virtue,  and 
his  mind  becomes  unsettled,  and  he  ceases  to  love,  honour,  and 

539  obey  them  as  he  has  hitherto  done.     He  is  seduced  into  the  life  of 
pleasure,  and  becomes  a  lawless  person  and  a  rogue.    The  case  of 
such  speculators  is  very  pitiable,  and,  in  order  that  our  thirty 
years'  old  pupils  may  not  require  this  pity,  let  us  take  every 
possible  care  that  young  persons  do  not  study  philosophy  too 
early.     For  a  young  man  is  a  sort  of  puppy  who  only  plays  with 
an  argument ;  and  is  reasoned  into  and  out  of  his  opinions  every 
day ;  he  soon  begins  to  believe  nothing,  and  brings  himself  and 
philosophy  into  discredit.    A  man  of  thirty  does  not  run  on  in  this 
way;   he  will  argue  and  not  merely  contradict,  and  adds  new 
honour  to  philosophy  by  the  sobriety  of  his  conduct.    What  time 
shall  we  allow  for  this  second  gymnastic  training  of  the  soul  ? — 
say,  twice  the  time  required  for  the  gymnastics  of  the  body  ;  six, 
or  perhaps  five  years,  to  commence  at  thirty,  and  then  for  fifteen 

cviii  The  Divisions  of  Knowledge. 

Republic  years  let  the  student  go  down  into  the  den,  and  command  armies, 
ANALYSIS  *^  gain  exPerience  of  life.  At  fifty  let  him  return  to  the  end  of  540 
all  things,  and  have  his  eyes  uplifted  to  the  idea  of  good,  and  order 
his  life  after  that  pattern ;  if  necessary,  taking  his  turn  at  the 
helm  of  State,  and  training  up  others  to  be  his  successors.  When 
his  time  comes  he  shall  depart  in  peace  to  the  islands  of  the 
blest.  He  shall  be  honoured  with  sacrifices,  and  receive  such 
worship  as  the  Pythian  oracle  approves. 

'  You  are  a  statuary,  Socrates,  and  have  made  a  perfect  image 
of  our  governors.'  Yes,  and  of  our  governesses,  for  the  women 
will  share  in  all  things  with  the  men.  And  you  will  admit  that 
our  State  is  not  a  mere  aspiration,  but  may  really  come  into 
being  when  there  shall  arise  philosopher-kings,  one  or  more, 
who  will  despise  earthly  vanities,  and  will  be  the  servants  of 
justice  only.  'And  how  will  they  begin  their  work?'  Their  541 
first  act  will  be  to  send  away  into  the  country  all  those  who  are 
more  than  ten  years  of  age,  and  to  proceed  with  those  who  are 
left. . . . 

INTRODUC-       At  the  commencement  of  the   sixth   book,  Plato  anticipated 


his  explanation  of  the  relation  of  the  philosopher  to  the  world 
in  an  allegory,  in  this,  as  in  other  passages,  following  the  order 
which  he  prescribes  in  education,  and  proceeding  from  the  con- 
crete to  the  abstract.  At  the  commencement  of  Book  VII,  under 
the  figure  of  a  cave  having  an  opening  towards  a  fire  and  a 
way  upwards  to  the  true  light,  he  returns  to  view  the  divisions 
of  knowledge,  exhibiting  familiarly,  as  in  a  picture,  the  result 
which  had  been  hardly  won  by  a  great  effort  of  thought  in  the 
previous  discussion  ;  at  the  same  time  casting  a  glance  onward 
at  the  dialectical  process,  which  is  represented  by  the  way  leading 
from  darkness  to  light.  The  shadows,  the  images,  the  reflection 
of  the  sun  and  stars  in  the  water,  the  stars  and  sun  themselves, 
severally  correspond, — the  first,  to  the  realm  of  fancy  and  poetry, 
— the  second,  to  the  world  of  sense, — the  third,  to  the  abstractions 
or  universals  of  sense,  of  which  the  mathematical  sciences  furnish 
the  type, — the  fourth  and  last  to  the  same  abstractions,  when  seen 
in  the  unity  of  the  idea,  from  which  they  derive  a  new  meaning 
and  power.  The  true  dialectical  process  begins  with  the  con- 
templation of  the  real  stars,  and  not  mere  reflections  of  them, 

The  growth  of  Abstractions.  cix 

and  ends  with  the  recognition  of  the  sun,  or  idea  of  good,  as  the    Republic 
parent  not  only  of  light  but  of  warmth  and  growth.     To  the    INTROD'UC. 
divisions  of  knowledge  the  stages  of  education  partly  answer  : —       TION- 
first,  there  is  the  early  education  of  childhood  and  youth  in  the 
fancies  of  the  poets,  and  in  the  laws  and  customs  of  the  State  ;— 
then  there  is  the  training  of  the  body  to  be  a  warrior  athlete, 
and  a  good  servant  of  the  mind ; — and  thirdly,  after  an  interval 
follows  the  education  of  later  life,  which  begins  with  mathematics 
and  proceeds  to  philosophy  in  general. 

There  seem  to  be  two  great  aims  in  the  philosophy  of  Plato, — 
first,  to  realize  abstractions;  secondly,  to  connect  them.  Ac- 
cording to  him,  the  true  education  is  that  which  draws  men  from 
becoming  to  being,  and  to  a  comprehensive  survey  of  all  being. 
He  desires  to  develop  in  the  human  mind  the  faculty  of  seeing 
the  universal  in  all  things ;  until  at  last  the  particulars  of  sense 
drop  away  and  the  universal  alone  remains.  He  then  seeks  to 
combine  the  universals  which  he  has  disengaged  from  sense,  not 
perceiving  that  the  correlation  of  them  has  no  other  basis  but 
the  common  use  of  language.  He  never  understands  that  ab- 
stractions, as  Hegel  says,  are  '  mere  abstractions ' — of  use  when 
employed  in  the  arrangement  of  facts,  but  adding  nothing  to  the 
sum  of  knowledge  when  pursued  apart  from  them,  or  with 
reference  to  an  imaginary  idea  of  good.  Still  the  exercise  of  the 
faculty  of  abstraction  apart  from  facts  has  enlarged  the  mind, 
and  played  a  great  part  in  the  education  of  the  human  race.  Plato 
appreciated  the  value  of  this  faculty,  and  saw  that  it  might  be 
quickened  by  the  study  of  number  and  relation.  All  things  in 
which  there  is  opposition  or  proportion  are  suggestive  of  re- 
flection. The  mere  impression  of  sense  evokes  no  power  of 
thought  or  of  mind,  but  when  sensible  objects  ask  to  be  compared 
and  distinguished,  then  philosophy  begins.  The  science  of  arith- 
metic first  suggests  such  distinctions.  There  follow  in  order  the 
other  sciences  of  plain  and  solid  geometry,  and  of  solids  in 
motion,  one  branch  of  which  is  astronomy  or  the  harmony  of 
the  spheres, — to  this  is  appended  the  sister  science  of  the  har- 
mony of  sounds.  Plato  seems  also  to  hint  at  the  possibility  of 
other  applications  of  arithmetical  or  mathematical  proportions, 
such  as  we  employ  in  chemistry  and  natural  philosophy,  such 
as  the  Pythagoreans  and  even  Aristotle  make  use  of  in  Ethics 

ex  A  priori  Astronomy. 

Republic   and  Politics,  e.g.  his  distinction  between  arithmetical  and  geo- 
INTRODUC-   metr^ca^  proportion  in  the  Ethics  (Book  V),  or  between  numerical 
TION.       ancj  proportional  equality  in  the  Politics  (iii.  8,  iv.  12,  &c.). 

The  modern  mathematician  will  readily  sympathise  with  Plato's 
delight  in  the  properties  of  pure  mathematics.  He  will  not  be 
disinclined  to  say  with  him  :— Let  alone  the  heavens,  and  study 
the  beauties  of  number  and  figure  in  themselves.  He  too  will 
be  apt  to  depreciate  their  application  to  the  arts.  He  will  observe 
that  Plato  has  a  conception  of  geometry,  in  which  figures  are  to 
be  dispensed  with  ;  thus  in  a  distant  and  shadowy  way  seeming 
to  anticipate  the  possibility  of  working  geometrical  problems  by 
a  more  general  mode  of  analysis.  He  will  remark  with  interest 
on  the  backward  state  of  solid  geometry,  which,  alas !  was  not 
encouraged  by  the  aid  of  the  State  in  the  age  of  Plato ;  and  he 
will  recognize  the  grasp  of  Plato's  mind  in  his  ability  to  conceive 
of  one  science  of  solids  in  motion  including  the  earth  as  well 
as  the  heavens, — not  forgetting  to  notice  the  intimation  to  which 
allusion  has  been  already  made,  that  besides  astronomy  and 
harmonics  the  science  of  solids  in  motion  may  have  other  appli- 
cations. Still  more  will  he  be  struck  with  the  comprehensiveness 
of  view  which  led  Plato,  at  a  time  when  these  sciences  hardly 
existed,  to  say  that  they  must  be  studied  in  relation  to  one 
another,  and  to  the  idea  of  good,  or  common  principle  of  truth 
and  being.  But  he  will  also  see  (and  perhaps  without  surprise) 
that  in  that  stage  of  physical  and  mathematical  knowledge,  Plato 
has  fallen  into  the  error  of  supposing  that  he  can  construct  the 
heavens  a  priori  by  mathematical  problems,  and  determine  the 
principles  of  harmony  irrespective  of  the  adaptation  of  sounds  to 
the  human  ear.  The  illusion  was  a  natural  one  in  that  age  and 
country.  The  simplicity  and  certainty  of  astronomy  and  har- 
monics seemed  to  contrast  with  the  variation  and  complexity 
of  the  world  of  sense ;  hence  the  circumstance  that  there  was 
some  elementary  basis  of  fact,  some  measurement  of  distance 
or  time  or  vibrations  on  which  they  must  ultimately  rest,  was 
overlooked  by  him.  The  modern  predecessors  of  Newton  fell 
into  errors  equally  great ;  and  Plato  can  hardly  be  said  to  have 
.been  very  far  wrong,  or  may  even  claim  a  sort  of  prophetic 
insight  into  the  subject,  when  we  consider  that  the  greater  part 
of  astronomy  at  the  present  day  consists  of  abstract  dynamics, 

Mystical  applications  of  Mathematics.  cxi 

by  the  help  of  which  most  astronomical  discoveries  have  been    Republic 
made.  ,  "»• 


The  metaphysical  philosopher  from  his  point  of  view  recognizes  ™>N. 
mathematics  as  an  instrument  of  education, — which  strengthens 
the  power  of  attention,  developes  the  sense  of  order  and  the 
faculty  of  construction,  and  enables  the  mind  to  grasp  under 
simple  formulae  the  quantitative  differences  of  physical  phe- 
nomena. But  while  acknowledging  their  value  in  education,  he 
sees  also  that  they  have  no  connexion  with  our  higher  moral 
and  intellectual  ideas.  In  the  attempt  which  Plato  makes  to 
connect  them,  we  easily  trace  the  influences  of  ancient  Pytha- 
gorean notions.  There  is  no  reason  to  suppose  that  he  is  speak- 
ing of  the  ideal  numbers  at  p.  525  E ;  but  he  is  describing  numbers 
which  are  pure  abstractions,  to  which  he  assigns  a  real  and 
separate  existence,  which,  as  '  the  teachers  of  the  art '  (meaning 
probably  the  Pythagoreans)  would  have  affirmed,  repel  all  at- 
tempts at  subdivision,  and  in  which  unity  and  every  other  number 
are  conceived  of  as  absolute.  The  truth  and  certainty  of  numbers, 
when  thus  disengaged  from  phenomena,  gave  them  a  kind  of 
sacredness  in  the  eyes  of  an  ancient  philosopher.  Nor  is  it  easy 
to  say  how  far  ideas  of  order  and  fixedness  may  have  had  a  moral 
and  elevating  influence  on  the  minds  of  men,  *  who,'  in  the  words 
of  the  Timaeus,  'might  learn  to  regulate  their  erring  lives  ac- 
cording to  them'  (47 C).  It  is  worthy  of  remark  that  the  old 
Pythagorean  ethical  symbols  still  exist  as  figures  of  speech  among 
ourselves.  And  those  who  in  modern  times  see  the  world  per- 
vaded by  universal  law,  may  also  see  an  anticipation  of  this  last 
word  of  modern  philosophy  in  the  Platonic  idea  of  good,  which 
is  the  source  and  measure  of  all  things,  and  yet  only  an  abstrac- 
tion. (Cp.  Philebus,  sub  fin.) 

Two  passages  seem  to  require  more  particular  explanations. 
First,  that  which  relates  to  the  analysis  of  vision.  The  difficulty 
in  this  passage  may  be  explained,  like  many  others,  from  dif- 
ferences in  the  modes  of  conception  prevailing  among  ancient 
and  modern  thinkers.  To  us,  the  perceptions  of  sense  are  in- 
separable from  the  act  of  the  mind  which  accompanies  them. 
The  consciousness  of  form,  colour,  distance,  is  indistinguishable 
from  the  simple  sensation,  which  is  the  medium  of  them. 
Whereas  to  Plato  sense  is  the  Heraclitean  flux  of  sense,  not 

cxii  A  priori  Harmonics. 

Republic   the  vision  of  objects  in  the  order  in  which  they  actually  present 

INTRODUC-  tnemselves  to  the  experienced  sight,  but  as  they  may  be  imagined 

TION.       fO  appear  confused  and  blurred  to  the  half-awakened  eye  of  the 

infant.    The  first  action  of  the  mind  is  aroused  by  the  attempt 

to  set  in  order  this  chaos,  and  the  reason  is  required  to  frame 

distinct  conceptions  under  which   the    confused  impressions  of 

sense  may  be  arranged.     Hence  arises  the  question,  *  What  is 

great,  what  is  small  ?'  and  thus  begins  the  distinction  of  the  visible 

and  the  intelligible. 

The  second  difficulty  relates  to  Plato's  conception  of  harmonics. 
Three  classes  of  harmonists  are  distinguished  by  him  : — first,  the 
Pythagoreans,  whom  he  proposes  to  consult  as  in  the  previous 
discussion  on  music  he  was  to  consult  Damon — they  are  acknow- 
ledged to  be  masters  in  the  art,  but  are  altogether  deficient 
in  the  knowledge  of  its  higher  import  and  relation  to  the  good ; 
secondly,  the  mere  empirics,  whom  Glaucon  appears  to  confuse 
with  them,  and  whom  both  he  and  Socrates  .ludicrously  describe 
as  experimenting  by  mere  auscultation  on  the  intervals  of  sounds. 
Both  of  these  fall  short  in  different  degrees  of  the  Platonic  idea 
of  harmony,  which  must  be  studied  in  a  purely  abstract  way,  first 
by  the  method  of  problems,  and  secondly  as  a  part  of  universal 
knowledge  in  relation  to  the  idea  of  good. 

.  The  allegory  has  a  political  as  well  as  a  philosophical  meaning. 
The  den  or  cave  represents  the  narrow  sphere  of  politics  or  law 
(cp.  the  description  of  the  philosopher  and  lawyer  in  the  Theae- 
tetus,  172-176),  and  the  light  of  the  eternal  ideas  is  supposed  to 
exercise  a  disturbing  influence  on  the  minds  of  those  who  return 
to  this  lower  world.  In  other  words,  their  principles  are  too 
wide  for  practical  application  ;  they  are  looking  far  away  into 
the  past  and  future,  when  their  business  is  with  the  present. 
The  ideal  is  not  easily  reduced  to  the  conditions  of  actual  life, 
and  may  often  be  at  variance  with  them.  And  at  first,  those 
who  return  are  unable  to  compete  with  the  inhabitants  of  the 
den  in  the  measurement  of  the  shadows,  and  are  derided  and 
persecuted  by  them ;  but  after  a  while  they  see  the  things  below 
in  far  truer  proportions  than  those  who  have  never  ascended 
into  the  upper  world.  The  difference  between  the  politician 
turned  into  a  philosopher  and  the  philosopher  turned  into  a 
politician,  is  symbolized  by  the  two  kinds  of  disordered  eyesight, 


The  effects  of  Political  Ideals.  cxiii 

the  one  which  is  experienced  by  the  captive  who  is  transferred    Republic 

from  darkness  to  day,  the  other,  of  the  heavenly  messenger  who   INTROD^.C. 

voluntarily  for  the  good  of  his  fellow-men  descends  into  the  den. 

In  what  way  the  brighter  light  is  to  dawn  on  the  inhabitants 

of  the    lower  world,  or  how  the    idea  of  good  is  to  become 

the  guiding  principle  of  politics,  is  left  unexplained  by  Plato. 

Like  the  nature  and  divisions    of  dialectic,   of  which   Glaucon 

impatiently  demands  to  be  informed,  perhaps  he  would  have 

said  that  the  explanation  could  not  be  given  except  to  a  disciple  ^ 

of  the  previous  sciences.    (Compare  Symposium  210  A.) 

Many  illustrations  of  this  part  of  the  Republic  may  be  found  in 
modern  Politics  and  in  daily  life.  For  among  ourselves,  too, 
there  have  been  two  sorts  of  Politicians  or  Statesmen,  whose 
eyesight  has  become  disordered  in  two  different  ways.  First, 
there  have  been  great  men  who,  in  the  language  of  Burke,  *  have 
been  too  much  given  to  general  maxims,'  who,  like  J.  S.  Mill 
or  Burke  himself,  have  been  theorists  or  philosophers  before  they 
were  politicians,  or  who,  having  been  students  of  history,  have 
allowed  some  great  historical  parallel,  such  as  the  English  Revo- 
lution of  1688,  or  possibly  Athenian  democracy  or  Roman 
Imperialism,  to  be  the  medium  through  which  they  viewed 
contemporary  events.  Or  perhaps  the  long  projecting  shadow 
of  some  existing  institution  may  have  darkened  their  vision.  The 
Church  of  the  future,  the  Commonwealth  of  the  future,  the  Society 
of  the  future,  have  so  absorbed  their  minds,  that  they  are  unable 
to  see  in  their  true  proportions  the  Politics  of  to-day.  They 
have  been  intoxicated  with  great  ideas,  such  as  liberty,  or 
equality,  or  the  greatest  happiness  of  the  greatest  number,  or 
the  brotherhood  of  humanity,  and  they  no  longer  care  to  consider 
how  these  ideas  must  be  limited  in  practice  or  harmonized  with 
the  conditions  of  human  life.  They  are  full  of  light,  but  the  light 
to  them  has  become  only  a  sort  of  luminous  mist  or  blindness. 
Almost  every  one  has  known  some  enthusiastic  half-educated 
person,  who  sees  everything  at  false  distances,  and  in  erroneous 

With  this  disorder  of  eyesight  may  be  contrasted  another— 
of  those  who  see  not  far  into  the  distance,  but  what  is  near  only ; 
who  have  been  engaged  all  their  lives  in  a  trade  or  a  profession  ; 
who  are  limited  to  a  set  or  sect  of  their  own.  Men  of  this  kind 

cxiv  The  dangers  which  beset  youth 

Republic   have  no  universal  except  their  own  interests  or  the  interests 

of  their  class,  no  principle  but  the  opinion  of  persons  like  them- 

selves,  no  knowledge  of  affairs  beyond  what  they  pick  up  in 
the  streets  or  at  their  club.  Suppose  them  to  be  sent  into  a 
larger  world,  to  undertake  some  higher  calling,  from  being 
tradesmen  to  turn  generals  or  politicians,  from  being  school- 
masters to  become  philosophers  :  —  or  imagine  them  on  a  sudden 
to  receive  an  inward  light  which  reveals  to  them  for  the  first 
time  in  their  lives  a  higher  idea  of  God  and  the  existence  of  a 
spiritual  world,  by  this  sudden  conversion  or  change  is  not  their 
daily  life  likely  to  be  upset  ;  and  on  the  other  hand  will  not  many 
of  their  old  prejudices  and  narrownesses  still  adhere  to  them 
long  after  they  have  begun  to  take  a  more  comprehensive  view 
of  human  things?  From  familiar  examples  like  these  we  may 
learn  what  Plato  meant  by  the  eyesight  which  is  liable  to  two 
kinds  of  disorders. 

Nor  have  we  any  difficulty  in  drawing  a  parallel  between  the 
young  Athenian  in  the  fifth  century  before  Christ  who  became 
unsettled  by  new  ideas,  and  the  student  of  a  modern  University 
who  has  been  the  subject  of  a  similar  '  aufklarung.'  We  too 
observe  that  when  young  men  begin  to  criticise  customary  beliefs, 
or  to  analyse  the  constitution  of  human  nature,  they  are  apt  to 
lose  hold  of  solid  principle  (dnav  TO  fifftaiov  avrav  e'£ot'xcrat).  They 
are  like  trees  which  have  been  frequently  transplanted.  The 
earth  about  them  is  loose,  and  they  have  no  roots  reaching  far 
into  the  soil.  They  Might  upon  every  flower,'  following  their 
own  wayward  wills,  or  because  the  wind  blows  them.  They 
catch  opinions,  as  diseases  are  caught—  when  they  are  in  the 
air.  Borne  hither  and  thither,  'they  speedily  fall  into  beliefs' 
the  opposite  of  those  in  which  they  were  brought  up.  They 
hardly  retain  the  distinction  of  right  and  wrong  ;  they  seem  to  think 
one  thing  as  good  as  another.  They  suppose  themselves  to  be 
searching  after  truth  when  they  are  playing  the  game  of  '  follow  my 
leader.*  They  fall  in  love  '  at  first  sight  '  with  paradoxes  respecting 
morality,  some  fancy  about  art,  some  novelty  or  eccentricity  in 
religion,  and  like  lovers  they  are  so  absorbed  for  a  time  in  their 
new  notion  that  they  can  think  of  nothing  else.  The  resolution  of 
some  philosophical  or  theological  question  seems  to  them  more 
interesting  and  important  than  any  substantial  knowledge  of 

in  times  of  transition.  cxv 

literature  or  science  or  even  than  a  good  life.    Like  the  youth   Republic 
in  the  Philebus,  they  are  ready  to  discourse  to  any  one  about  a   INTROD"UC. 
new  philosophy.     They   are    generally  the    disciples    of   some       TION> 
eminent  professor  or  sophist,  whom   they  rather  imitate  than 
understand.    They  may  be  counted  happy  if  in  later  years  they 
retain  some  of  the  simple  truths  which  they  acquired  in  early 
education,  and  which  they  may,  perhaps,  find  to  be  worth  all 
the  rest.    Such  is  the  picture  which  Plato  draws  and  which  we 
only  reproduce,  partly  in  his  own  words,  of  the  dangers  which 
beset  youth  in  times  of  transition,  when  old  opinions  are  fading 
away  and  the  new  are  not  yet  firmly  established.    Their  condition 
is  ingeniously  compared  by  him  to  that  of  a  supposititious  son, 
who  has  made  the  discovery  that  his  reputed  parents  are  not 
his  real  ones,  and,  in  consequence,  they  have  lost  their  authority 
over  him. 

The  distinction  between  the  mathematician  and  the  dialectician 
is  also  noticeable.  Plato  is  very  well  aware  that  the  faculty  of 
the  mathematician  is  quite  distinct  from  the  higher  philosophical 
sense  which  recognizes  and  combines  first  principles  (531  E). 
The  contempt  which  he  expresses  at  p.  533  for  distinctions  of 
words,  the  danger  of  involuntary  falsehood,  the  apology  which 
Socrates  makes  for  his  earnestness  of  speech,  are  highly  charac- 
teristic of  the  Platonic  style  and  mode  of  thought.  The  quaint 
notion  that  if  Palamedes  was  the  inventor  of  number  Agamemnon 
could  not  have  counted  his  feet ;  the  art  by  which  we  are  made  to 
believe  that  this  State  of  ours  is  not  a  dream  only ;  the  gravity 
with  which  the  first  step  is  taken  in  the  actual  creation  of  the 
State,  namely,  the  sending  out  of  the  city  all  who  had  arrived 
at  ten  years  of  age,  in  order  to  expedite  the  business  of  education 
by  a  generation,  are  also  truly  Platonic.  (For  the  last,  compare 
the  passage  at  the  end  of  the  third  book  (415  D),  in  which  he 
expects  the  lie  about  the  earthborn  men  to  be  believed  in  the 
second  generation.) 

eph.     BOOK  VTII.    And  so  we  have  arrived  at  the  conclusion,  that    ANALYSIS. 

*   in  the  perfect  State  wives  and  children  are  to  be  in  common  ;  and 

the  education  and  pursuits  of  men  and  women,  both  in  war  and 

peace,  are  to  be  common,  and  kings  are  to  be  philosophers  an<J 

warriors,  and  the  soldiers  of  the    State  are  to   live  together, 

i  2 

cxvi  Analysis  543-546. 

Republic  having  all  things  in  common  ;  and  they  are  to  be  warrior  athletes, 
AN  '  receiving  no  pay  but  only  their  food,  from  the  other  citizens. 
Now  let  us  return  to  the  point  at  which  we  digressed.  '  That  is 
easily  done,'  he  replied :  '  You  were  speaking  of  the  State  which 
you  had  constructed,  and  of  the  individual  who  answered  to  this, 
both  of  whom  you  affirmed  to  be  good ;  and  you  said  that  of  544 
inferior  States  there  were  four  forms  and  four  individuals  cor- 
responding to  them,  which  although  deficient  in  various  degrees, 
were  all  of  them  worth  inspecting  with  a  view  to  determining 
the  relative  happiness  or  misery  of  the  best  or  worst  man.  Then 
Polemarchus  and  Adeimantus  interrupted  you,  and  this  led  to 
another  argument, — and  so  here  we  are.'  Suppose  that  we  put 
ourselves  again  in  the  same  position,  and  do  you  repeat  your 
question.  *  I  should  like  to  know  of  what  constitutions  you  were 
speaking?'  Besides  the  perfect  State  there  are  only  four  of 
any  note  in  Hellas :— first,  the  famous  Lacedaemonian  or  Cretan 
commonwealth  ;  secondly,  oligarchy,  a  State  full  of  evils  ;  thirdly, 
democracy,  which  follows  next  in  order ;  fourthly,  tyranny,  which 
is  the  disease  or  death  of  all  government.  Now,  States  are  not 
made  of  '  oak  and  rock,'  but  of  flesh  and  blood ;  and  therefore  as 
there  are  five  States  there  must  be  five  human  natures  in  in- 
dividuals, which  correspond  to  them.  And  first,  there  is  the 
ambitious  nature,  which  answers  to  the  Lacedaemonian  State;  545 
secondly,  the  oligarchical  nature ;  thirdly,  the  democratical ;  and 
fourthly,  the  tyrannical.  This  last  will  have  to  be  compared  with 
the  perfectly  just,  which  is  the  fifth,  that  we  may  know  which  is 
the  happier,  and  then  we  shall  be  able  to  determine  whether 
the  argument  of  Thrasymachus  or  our  own  is  the  more  convincing. 
And  as  before  we  began  with  the  State  and  went  on  to  the 
individual,  so  now,  beginning  with  timocracy,  let  us  go  on  to 
the  timocratical  man,  and  then  proceed  to  the  other  forms  of 
government,  and  the  individuals  who  answer  to  them. 

But  how  did  timocracy  arise  out  of  the  perfect  State  ?  Plainly, 
like  all  changes  of  government,  from  division  in  the  rulers.  But 
whence  came  division  ?  *  Sing,  heavenly  Muses,'  as  Homer  says  ; 
—let  them  condescend  to  answer  us,  as  if  we  were  children,  to 
whom  they  put  on  a  solemn  face  in  jest.  *  And  what  will  they 
say  ? '  They  will  say  that  human  things  are  fated  to  decay,  and  546 
even  the  perfect  State  will  not  escape  from  this  law  of  destiny, 

Analysis  546-548.  cxvii 

when  '  the  wheel  comes  full  circle '  in  a  period  short  or  long.  Plants  Republic 
or  animals  have  times  of  fertility  and  sterility,  which  the  intel-  ANALVSJS 
ligence  of  rulers  because  alloyed  by  sense  will  not  enable  them  to 
ascertain,  and  children  will  be  born  out  of  season.  For  whereas 
divine  creations  are  in  a  perfect  cycle  or  number,  the  human 
creation  is  in  a  number  which  declines  from  perfection,  and  has 
four  terms'  and  three  intervals  of  numbers,  increasing,  waning, 
assimilating,  dissimilating,  and  yet  perfectly  commensurate  with 
each  other.  -  The  base  of  the  number  with  a  fourth  added  (or 
which  is  3  :  4),  multiplied  by  five  and  cubed,  gives  two  har- 
monies : — The  first  a  square  number,  which  is  a  hundred  times 
the  base  (or  a  hundred  times  a  hundred) ;  the  second,  an  oblong, 
being  a  hundred  squares  of  the  rational  diameter  of  a  figure  the 
side  of  which  is  five,  subtracting  one  from  each  square  or  two  . 
perfect  squares  from  all,  and  adding  a  hundred  cubes  of  three. 
This  entire  number  is  geometrical  and  contains  the  rule  or  law  of 
generation.  When  this  law  is  neglected  marriages  will  be  un- 
propitious  ;  the  inferior  offspring  who  are  then  born  will  in  time 
become  the  rulers ;  the  State  will  decline,  and  education  fall  into 
decay ;  gymnastic  will  be  preferred  to  music,  and  the  gold  and 

547  silver  and  brass  and  iron  will  form  a  chaotic  mass — thus  division 
will  arise.    Such  is  the  Muses'  answer  to  our  question.     'And 
a  true  answer,  of  course : — but  what  more  have  they  to  say  ? ' 
They  say  that  the  two  races,  the  iron  and  brass,  and  the  silver  and 
gold,  will  draw  the  State  different  ways; — the  one  will  take  to 
trade  and  moneymaking,  and  the  others,  having  the  true  riches 
and  not  caring  for  money,  will  resist  them :  the  contest  will  end 
in  a  compromise ;  they  will  agree  to  have  private  property,  and 
will  enslave  their  fellow-citizens  who  were  once  their  friends 
and  nurturers.    But  they  will  retain  their  warlike  character,  and 
will  be  chiefly  occupied  in  fighting  and  exercising  rule.    Thus 
arises  timocracy,  which  is  intermediate  between  aristocracy  and 

The  new  form  of  government  resembles  the  ideal  in  obedience 
to  rulers  and  contempt  for  trade,  in  having  common  meals,  and  in 
devotion  to  warlike  and  gymnastic  exercises.  But  corruption  has 
crept  into  philosophy,  and  simplicity  of  character,  which  was  once 

548  her  note,  is  now  looked  for  only  in  the  military  class.    Arts  of  war 
begin  to  prevail  over  arts  of  peace;   the  ruler  is  no  longer  a 

cxviii  Analysis  548-551. 

Republic  philosopher;  as  in  oligarchies,  there  springs  up  among  them 
an  extravaSant  l°ve  °f  gain— get  another  man's  and  save  your 
own,  is  their  principle ;  and  they  have  dark  places  in  which  they 
hoard  their  gold  and  silver,  for  the  use  of  their  women  and  others ; 
they  take  their  pleasures  by  stealth^  like  boys  who  are  running 
away  from  their  father— the  law;  and  their  education  is  not 
inspired  by  the  Muse,  but  imposed  by  the  strong  arm  of  power. 
The  leading  characteristic  of  this  State  is  party  spirit  and 

And  what  manner  of  man  answers  to  such  a  State  ?  *  In  love 
of  contention,'  replied  Adeimantus,  'he  will  be  like  our  friend 
Glaucon.'  In  that  respect,  perhaps,  but  not  in  others.  He 
is  self-  asserting  and  ill-educated,  yet  fond  of  literature,  al-  549 
though  not  himself  a  speaker, — fierce  with  slaves,  but  obedient 
to  rulers,  a  lover  of  power  and  honour,  which  he  hopes  to 
gain  by  deeds  of  arms, — fond,  too,  of  gymnastics  and  of  hunting. 
As  he  advances  in  years  he  grows  avaricious,  for  he  has  lost 
philosophy,  which  is  the  only  saviour  and  guardian  of  men.  His 
origin  is  as  follows: — His  father  is  a  good  man  dwelling  in  an 
ill-ordered  State,  who  has  retired  from  politics  in  order  that  he 
may  lead  a  quiet  life.  His  mother  is  angry  at  her  loss  of  prece- 
dence among  other  women ;  she  is  disgusted  at  her  husband's 
selfishness,  and  she  expatiates  to  her  son  on  the  unmanliness 
and  indolence  of  his  father.  The  old  family  servant  takes  up 
the  tale,  and  says  to  the  youth : — '  When  you  grow  up  you  must  be 
more  of  a  man  than  your  father.'  All  the  world  are  agreed  that  550 
he  who  minds  his  own  business  is  an  idiot,  while  a  busybody  is 
highly  honoured  and  esteemed.  The  young  man  compares  this 
spirit  with  his  father's  words  and  ways,  and  as  he  is  naturally 
well  disposed,  although  he  has  suffered  from  evil  influences,  he 
rests  at  a  middle  point  and  becomes  ambitious  and  a  lover  of 

And  now  let  us  set  another  city  over  against  another  man. 
The  next  form  of  government  is  oligarchy,  in  which  the  rule 
is  of  the  rich  only ;  nor  is  it  difficult  to  see  how  such  a  State 
arises.  The  decline  begins  with  the  possession  of  gold  and  silver ; 
illegal  modes  of  expenditure  are  invented ;  one  draws  another 
on,  and  the  multitude  are  infected;  riches  outweigh  virtue; 
lovers  of  money  take  the  place  of  lovers  of  honour;  misers  of  551 

Analysis  551-553.  cxix 

politicians ;  and,  in  time,  political  privileges  are  confined  by  law    Republic 
to  the  rich,  who  do  not  shrink  from  violence  in  order  to  effect 


their  purposes. 

Thus  much  of  the  origin,— let  us  next  consider  the  evils  of 
oligarchy.  Would  a  man  who  wanted  to  be  safe  on  a  voyage  take 
a  bad  pilot  because  he  was  rich,  or  refuse  a  good  one  because 
he  was  poor?  And  does  not  the  analogy  apply  still  more  to 
the  State  ?  And  there  are  yet  greater  evils :  two  nations  are 
struggling  together  in  one— the  rich  and  the  poor ;  and  the  rich 
-  dare  not  put  arms  into  the  hands  of  the  poor,  and  are  unwilling  to 
pay  for  defenders  out  of  their  own  money.  And  have  we  not 

552  already  condemned  that  State  in  which  the  same  persons  are 
warriors  as  well  as  shopkeepers  ?    The  greatest  evil  of  all  is  that 
a  man  may  sell  his  property  and  have  no  place  in  the  State ; 
while  there  is  one  class  which  has  enormous  wealth,  the  other 
is  entirely  destitute.    But  observe  that  these  destitutes  had  not 
really  any  more  of  the  governing  nature  in  them  when  they  were 
rich  than  now  that  they  are  poor;  they  were  miserable  spend- 
thrifts always.    They  are  the  drones  of  the  hive;  only  whereas 
the  actual  drone  is  unprovided  by  nature  with  a  sting,  the  two- 
legged  things  whom  we  call  drones  are  some  of  them  without  stings 
and  some  of  them  have  dreadful  stings ;    in  other  words,  there 
are  paupers  and  there  are  rogues.    These  are  never  far  apart ; 
and  in  oligarchical  cities,  where  nearly  everybody  is  a  pauper 
who  is  not  a  ruler,  you  will   find    abundance  of  both.     And 
this  evil  state  of  society  originates  in  bad  education  and  bad 

553  Like  State,  like  man,— the  change  in  the  latter  begins  with  the 
representative  of  timocracy ;  he  walks  at  first  in  the  ways  of  his 
father,  who  may  have  been  a  statesman,  or  general,  perhaps; 
and  presently  he  sees  him  '  fallen  from  his  high  estate,'  the  victim 
of  informers,  dying  in  prison  or  exile,  or  by  the  hand  of  the 
executioner.     The  lesson  which  he  thus  receives,   makes  him 
cautious  ;  he  leaves  politics,  represses  his  pride,  and  saves  pence. 
Avarice  is  enthroned  as  his  bosom's  lord,  and  assumes  the  style 
of  the  Great  King ;  the  rational  and  spirited  elements  sit  humbly 
on  the  ground  at  either  side,  the  one  immersed  in  calculation,  the 
other  absorbed  in  the  admiration  of  wealth.    The  love  of  honour 
turns  to  love  of  money;  the  conversion  is  instantaneous.    The 

cxx  Analysis  554-557. 

Republic   man  is  mean,  saving,  toiling,  the  slave  of  one  passion  which  is  554 


VIH-     the  master  of  the  rest :   Is  he  not  the  very  image  of  the  State  ? 

He  has  had  no  education,  or  he  would  never  have  allowed  the 
blind  god  of  riches  to  lead  the  dance  within  him.  And  being 
uneducated  he  will  have  many  slavish  desires,  some  beggarly, 
some  knavish,  breeding  in  his  soul.  If  he  is  the  trustee  of  an 
orphan,  and  has  the  power  to  defraud,  he  will  soon  prove  that  he 
is  not  without  the  will,  and  that  his  passions  are  only  restrained 
by  fear  and  not  by  reason.  Hence  he  leads  a  divided  existence  ; 
in  which  the  better  desires  mostly  prevail.  But  when  he  is  con-  555 
tending  for  prizes  and  other  distinctions,  he  is  afraid  to  incur  a  loss 
which  is  to  be  repaid  only  by  barren  honour ;  in  time  of  war  he 
fights  with  a  small  part  of  his  resources,  and  usually  keeps  his 
money  and  loses  the  victory. 

Next  comes  democracy  and  the  democratic  man,  out  of  oli- 
garchy and  the  oligarchical  man.  Insatiable  avarice  is  the  ruling 
passion  of  an  oligarchy ;  and  they  encourage  expensive  habits  in 
order  that  they  may  gain  by  the  ruin  of  extravagant  youth.  Thus 
men  of  family  often  lose  their  property  or  rights  of  citizenship ; 
but  they  remain  in  the  city,  full  of  hatred  against  the  new  owners 
of  their  estates  and  ripe  for  revolution.  The  usurer  with  stooping 
walk  pretends  not  to  see  them ;  he  passes  by,  and  leaves  his 
sting — that  is,  his  money — in  some  other  victim  ;  and  many  a 
man  has  to  pay  the  parent  or  principal  sum  multiplied  into  a 
family  of  children,  and  is  reduced  into  a  state  of  dronage  by  him.  556 
The  only  way  of  diminishing  the  evil  is  either  to  limit  a  man  in 
his  use  of  his  property,  or  to  insist  that  he  shall  lend  at  his  own 
risk.  But  the  ruling  class  do  not  want  remedies ;  they  care 
only  for  money,  and  are  as  careless  of  virtue  as  the  poorest  of  the 
citizens.  Now  there  are  occasions  on  which  the  governors  and 
the  governed  meet  together, — at  festivals,  on  a  journey,  voyaging 
or  fighting.  The  sturdy  pauper  finds  that  in  the  hour  of  danger 
he  is  not  despised  ;  he  sees  the  rich  man  puffing  and  panting, 
and  draws  tlie  conclusion  which  he  privately  imparts  to  his  com- 
panions,— '  that  our  people  are  not  good  for  much ; '  and  as  a 
sickly  frame  is  made  ill  by  a  mere  touch  from  without,  or  some- 
times without  external  impulse  is  ready  to  fall  to  pieces  of  itself, 
so  from  the  least  cause,  or  with  none  at  all,  the  city  falls  ill  and 
fights  a  battle  for  life  or  death.  And  democracy  comes  into  557 

Analysis  557-559- 


power  when  the  poor  are  the  victors,  killing  some  and  exiling 
some,  and  giving  equal  shares  in  the  government  to  all  the  rest. 

The  manner  of  life  in  such  a  State  is  that  of  democrats  ;  there 
is  freedom  and  plainness  of  speech,  and  every  man  does  what 
is  right  in  his  own  eyes,*  and  has  his  own  way  of  life.  Hence 
arise  the  most  various  developments  of  character ;  the  State  is 
like  a  piece  of  embroidery  of  which  the  colours  and  figures  are 
the  manners  of  men,  and  there  are  many  who,  like  women  and 
children,  prefer  this  variety  to  real  beauty  and  excellence.  The 
State  is  not  one  but  many,  like  a  bazaar  at  which  you  can  buy 
anything.  The  great  charm  is,  that  you  may  do  as  you  like ; 
you  may  govern  if  you  like,  let  it  alone  if  you  like ;  go  to  war 

558  and  make  peace  if  you  feel  disposed,  and  all  quite  irrespective 
of  anybody  else.     When  you  condemn  men  to  death  they  remain 
alive  all  the  same ;    a  gentleman  is  desired  to  go  into  exile, 
and  he  stalks  about  the  streets  like  a  hero;   and  nobody  sees 
him  or  cares  for  him.     Observe,  too,  how  grandly  Democracy 
sets  her  foot  upon  all  our  fine  theories  of  education, — how  little 
she  cares  for  the  training  of  her  statesmen  !     The  only  quali- 
fication which  she  demands  is  the  profession  of  patriotism.    Such 
is  democracy ;— a  pleasing,  lawless,  various  sort  of  government, 
distributing  equality  to  equals  and  unequals  alike.     , 

Let  us  now  inspect  the  individual  democrat ;  and  first,  as  in 
the  case  of  the  State,  we  will  trace  his  antecedents.  He  is  the 
son  of  a  miserly  oligarch,  and  has  been  taught  by  him  to  restrain 
the  love  of  unnecessary  pleasures.  Perhaps  I  ought  to  explain 

559  this    latter    term : — Necessary  pleasures    are    those    which    are 
good,  and  which  we  cannot  do  without;   unnecessary  pleasures 
are  those  which  do  no  good,  and  of  which  the  desire  might 
be  eradicated  by  early  training.     For  example,  the  pleasures 
of  eating  and  drinking  are  necessary  and  healthy,  up  to  a  certain 
point ;    beyond  that  point  they  are  alike  hurtful  to  body  and 
mind,  and  the  excess  may  be  avoided.     When  in  excess,  they 
may  be  rightly  called  expensive  pleasures,  in  opposition  to  the 
useful  ones.    And  the  drone,  as  we  called  him,  is  the  slave  of 
these  unnecessary  pleasures  and  desires,  whereas  the  miserly 
oligarch  is  subject  only  to  the  necessary. 

The  oligarch  changes  into  the  democrat  in  the  following 
manner: — The  youth  who  has  had  a  miserly  bringing  up,  gets 



cxxii  Analysis  559-562. 

Republic  a  taste  of  the  drone's  honey;  he  meets  with  wild  companions, 
ANALYSIS  w^°  mtro(^uce  mm  to  every  new  pleasure.  As  in  the  State,  so 
in  the  individual,  there  are  allies  on  both  sides,  temptations  from 
without  and  passions  from  within ;  there  is  reason  also  and 
external  influences  of  parents  and  friends  in  alliance  with  the 
oligarchical  principle  ;  and  the  two  factions  are  in  violent  conflict  560 
with  one  another.  Sometimes  the  party  of  order  prevails,  but 
then  again  new  desires  and  new  disorders  arise,  and  the  whole 
mob  of  passions  gets  possession  of  the  Acropolis,  that  is  to  say, 
the  soul,  which  they  find  void  and  unguarded  by  true  words 
and  works.  Falsehoods  and  illusions  ascend  to  take  their  place  ; 
the  prodigal  goes  back  into  the  country  of  the  Lotophagi  or 
drones,  and  openly  dwells  there.  And  if  any  offer  of  alliance 
or  parley  of  individual  elders  comes  from  home,  the  false  spirits 
shut  the  gates  of  the  castle  and  permit  no  one  to  enter, — there 
is  a  battle,  and  they  gain  the  victory ;  and  straightway  making 
alliance  with  the  desires,  they  banish  modesty,  which  they  call 
folly,  and  send  temperance  over  the  border.  When  the  house 
has  been  swept  and  garnished,  they  dress  up  the  exiled  vices,  and, 
crowning  them  with  garlands,  bring  them  back  under  new  names. 
Insolence  they  call  good  breeding,  anarchy  freedom,  waste  mag- 
nificence, impudence  courage.  Such  is  the  process  by  which  the  561 
youth  passes  from  the  necessary  pleasures  to  the  unnecessary. 
After  a  while  he  divides  his  time  impartially  between  them ;  and 
perhaps,  when  he  gets  older  and  the  violence  of  passion  has 
abated,  he  restores  some  of  the  exiles  and  lives  in  a  sort  of  equi- 
librium, indulging  first  one  pleasure  and  then  another;  and  if 
reason  comes  and  tells  him  that  some  pleasures  are  good  and 
honourable,  and  others  bad  and  vile,  he  shakes  his  head  and  says 
that  he  can  make  no  distinction  between  them.  Thus  he  lives 
in  the  fancy  of  the  hour ;  sometimes  he  takes  to  drink,  and  then 
he  turns  abstainer ;  he  practises  in  the  gymnasium  or  he  does 
nothing  at  all;  then  again  he  would  be  a  philosopher  or  a 
politician  ;  or  again,  he  would  be  a  warrior  or  a  man  of  business  ; 

he  is 

'Every  thing  by  starts  and  nothing  long.' 

There  remains  still  the  finest  and  fairest  of  all  men  and  all  562 
States— tyranny  and    the    tyrant.      Tyranny  springs    from    de- 
mocracy much  as  democracy  springs  from  oligarchy.    Both  arise 

Analysis  562-564.  cxxiii 

from  excess;  the  one  from  excess  of  wealth,  the  other  from  Republic 
excess  of  freedom.  'The  great  natural  good  of  life,'  says  the 
democrat, '  is  freedom.'  And  this  exclusive  love  of  freedom  and 
regardlessness  of  everything  else,  is  the  cause  of  the  change 
from  democracy  to  tyranny.  The  State  demands  the  strong 
wine  of  freedom,  and  unless  her  rulers  give  her  a  plentiful 
draught,  punishes  and  insults  them ;  equality  and  fraternity  of 
governors  and  governed  is  the  approved  principle.  Anarchy  is 
the  law,  not  of  the  State  only,  but  of  private  houses,  and  extends 

563  even  to  the  animals.    Father  and  son,  citizen  and  foreigner,  teacher 
and  pupil,  old  and  young,  are  all  on  a  level ;  fathers  and  teachers 
fear  their  sons  and  pupils,  and  the  wisdom  of  the  young  man 
is  a  match  for  the  elder,  and  the  old  imitate  the  jaunty  manners 
of  the  young  because  they  are  afraid  of  being  thought  morose. 
Slaves  are  on  a  level  with  their  masters  and  mistresses,  and 
there  is  no  difference  between  men  and  women.    Nay,  the  very 
animals  in  a  democratic  State  have  a  freedom  which  is  unknown 
in  other  places.   The  she-dogs  are  as  good  as  their  she-mistresses, 
and  horses  and  asses  march  along  with  dignity  and  run  their 
noses  against  anybody  who  comes  in  their  way.    '  That  has  often 
been  my  experience.'    At  last  the  citizens  become  so  sensitive 
that  they  cannot  endure  the  yoke  of  laws,  written  or  unwritten  ; 
they  would  have  no  man  call  himself  their  master.     Such  is 
the  glorious  beginning  of  things  out  of  which  tyranny  springs. 
*  Glorious,  indeed  ;  but  what  is  to  follow  ? '  The  ruin  of  oligarchy 

564  is  the  ruin  of  democracy ;   for  there  is  a  law  of  contraries ;  the 
excess  of  freedom  passes  into  the  excess  of  slavery,  and  the 
greater  the  freedom  the  greater  the  slavery.    You  will  remember 
that  in  the  oligarchy  were  found  two  classes— rogues  and  paupers, 
whom  we  compared  to  drones  with  and  without  stings.     These 
two  classes  are  to  the  State  what  phlegm  and  bile  are  to  the 
human  body;   and  the  State-physician,  or  legislator,  must  get 
rid  of  them,  just  as  the  bee-master  keeps  the  drones  out  of  the 
hive.    Now  in  a  democracy,  too,  there  are  drones,  but  they  are 
more    numerous   and    more   dangerous  than  in    the  oligarchy; 
there  they  are  inert  and  unpractised,  here  they  are  full  of  life 
and  animation ;    and  the  keener  sort  speak  and  act,  while  the 
others  buzz  about  the  bema  and  prevent  their  opponents  from 
being  heard.    And  there  is  another  class  in  democratic  States, 

cxxiv  Analysis  564-567. 

Republic    of  respectable,  thriving  individuals,  who  can  be  squeezed  when 
.         '      the   drones   have    need   of  their  possessions ;    there    is    more-  565 


over  a  third  class,  who  are  the  labourers  and  the  artisans,  and 
they  make  up  the  mass  of  the  people.  When  the  people  meet, 
they  are  omnipotent,  but  they  cannot  be  brought  together  un- 
less they  are  attracted  by  a  little  honey ;  and  the  rich  are 
made  to  supply  the  honey,  of  which  the  demagogues  keep  the 
greater  part  themselves,  giving  a  taste  only  to  the  mob.  Their 
victims  attempt  to  resist;  they  are  driven  mad  by  the  stings 
of  the  drones,  and  so  become  downright  oligarchs  in  self-defence. 
Then  follow  informations  and  convictions  for  treason.  The 
people  have  some  protector  whom  they  nurse  into  greatness, 
and  from  this  root  the  tree  of  tyranny  springs.  The  nature  of 
the  change  is  indicated  in  the  old  fable  of  the  temple  of  Zeus 
Lycaeus,  which  tells  how  he  who  tastes  human  flesh  mixed  up 
with  the  flesh  of  other  victims  will  turn  into  a  wolf.  Even  so 
the  protector,  who  tastes  human  blood,  and.  slays  some  and 
exiles  others  with  or  without  law,  who  hints  at  abolition  of 
debts  and  division  of  lands,  must  either  perish  or  become  a  566 
wolf— that  is,  a  tyrant.  Perhaps  he  is  driven  out,  but  he  soon 
comes  back  from  exile ;  and  then  if  his  enemies  cannot  get  rid 
of  him  by  lawful  means,  they  plot  his  assassination.  Thereupon 
the  friend  of  the  people  makes  his  well-known  request  to  them 
for  a  body-guard,  which  they  readily  grant,  thinking  only  of  his 
danger  and  not  of  their  own.  Now  let  the  rich  man  make  to 
himself  wings,  for  he  will  never  run  away  again  if  he  does  not 
do  so  then.  And  the  Great  Protector,  having  crushed  all  his 
rivals,  stands  proudly  erect  in  the  chariot  of  State,  a  full-blown 
tyrant :  Let  us  enquire  into  the  nature  of  his  happiness. 

In  the  early  days  of  his  tyranny  he  smiles  and  beams  upon 
everybody  ;  he  is  not  a  '  dominus,'  no,  not  he :  he  has  only  come 
to  put  an  end  to  debt  and  the  monopoly  of  land.  Having  got  rid 
of  foreign  enemies,  he  makes  himself  necessary  to  the  State  by  567 
always  going  to  war.  He  is  thus  enabled  to  depress  the  poor 
by  heavy  taxes,  and  so  keep  them  at  work ;  and  he  can  get  rid 
of  bolder  spirits  by  handing  them  over  to  the  enemy.  Then 
comes  unpopularity ;  some  of  his  old  associates  have  the  courage 
to  oppose  him.  The  consequence  is,  that  he  has  to  make  a 
purgation  of  the  State;  but,  unlike  the  physician  who  purges 

Analysis  567-569.  cxxv 

away  the  bad,  he  must  get  rid  of  the  high-spirited,  the  wise  and    Republic 
the  wealthy;    for  he  has  no  choice  between  death  and  a  life  of  ' 


shame  and  dishonour.  And  the  more  hated  he  is,  the  more  he 
will  require  trusty  guards ;  but  how  will  he  obtain  them  ?  *  They 
will  come  flocking  like  birds — for  pay.'  Will  he  not  rather  obtain 
them  on  the  spot?  He  will  take  the  slaves  from  their  owners 

568  and  make  them  his  body-guard ;    these  are  his  trusted  friends, 
who  admire  and  look  up  to  him.    Are  not  the  tragic  poets  wise 
who  magnify  and  exalt  the  tyrant,  and  say  that  he  is  wise  by 
association  with  the  wise  ?    And  are  not  their  praises  of  tyranny 
alone  a  sufficient  reason  why  we  should  exclude  them  from  our 
State  ?    They  may  go  to  other  cities,  and  gather  the  mob  about 
them  with  fine  words,  and  change  commonwealths  into  tyrannies 
and    democracies,    receiving    honours    and    rewards    for    their 
services ;  but  the  higher  they  and  their  friends  ascend  constitution 
hill,  the  more  their  honour  will  fail  and  become  'too  asthmatic 
to  mount.'    To  return  to  the  tyrant — How  will  he  support  that 
rare  army  of  his  ?    First,  by  robbing  the  temples  of  their  treasures, 
which  will  enable  him  to  lighten  the  taxes;   then  he  will  take 
all  his  father's  property,  and  spend  it  on  his  companions,  male 
or  female.     Now  his  father  is  the  demus,  and  if  the  demus  gets 

569  angry,  and  says  that  a  great  hulking  son  ought  not  to  be  a  burden 
on  his  parents,  and  bids  him  and  his  riotous  crew  begone,  then 
will  the  parent  know  what  a  monster  he  has  been  nurturing, 
and  that  the  son  whom  he  would  fain  expel  is  too  strong  for 
him.     'You  do  not  mean  to  say  that  he  will  beat  his  father?' 
Yes,  he  will,  after  having  taken  away  his  arms.     'Then  he  is 
a  parricide  and  a  cruel,  unnatural  son.'     And  the  people  have 
jumped  from  the  fear  of  slavery  into  slavery,  out  of  the  smoke 
into  the  fire.     Thus  liberty,  when  out  of  all  order  and  reason, 
passes  into  the  worst  form  of  servitude. . . . 

In  the  previous  books  Plato  has  described  the  ideal  State  ;  now  INTRODUC- 
he  returns  to  the  perverted  or  declining  forms,  on  which  he 
had  lightly  touched  at  the  end  of  Book  iv.  These  he  describes  in 
a  succession  of  parallels  between  the  individuals  and  the  States, 
tracing  the  origin  of  either  in  the  State  or  individual  which  has 
preceded  them.  He  begins  by  asking  the  point  at  which  he 
digressed;  and  is  thus  led  shortly  to  recapitulate  the  substance 

cxxvi  The  order  of  decline  in  States 

Republic  of  the  three  former  books,  which  also  contain  a  parallel  of  the 
VIIL     philosopher  and  the  State. 

INTRODUC-  <  k 

•HON.  Of  the  first  decline  he  gives  no  intelligible  account ;  he  would 

not  have  liked  to  admit  the  most  probable  causes  of  the  fall  of  his 
ideal  State,  which  to  us  would  appear  to  be  the  impracticability  of 
communism  or  the  natural  antagonism  of  the  ruling  and  subject 
classes.  He  throws  a  veil  of  mystery  over  the  origin  of  the 
decline,  which  he  attributes  to  ignorance  of  the  law  of  population. 
Of  this  law  the  famous  geometrical  figure  or  number  is  the 
expression.  Like  the  ancients  in  general,  he  had  no  idea  of  the 
gradual  perfectibility  of  man  or  of  the  education  of  the  human 
race.  His  ideal  was  not  to  be  attained  in  the  course  of  ages, 
but  was  to  spring  in  full  armour  from  the  head  of  the  legislator. 
When  good  laws  had  been  given,  he  thought  only  of  the  manner 
in  which  they  were  likely  to  be  corrupted,  or  of  how  they  might 
be  filled  up  in  detail  or  restored  in  accordance  with  their  original 
spirit.  He  appears  not  to  have  reflected  upon  the  full  meaning  of 
his  own  words,  '  In  the  brief  space  of  human  life,  nothing  great 
can  be  accomplished '  (x.  608  B) ;  or  again,  as  he  afterwards  says 
in  the  Laws  (iii.  676),  *  Infinite  time  is  the  maker  of  cities.'  The 
order  of  constitutions  which  is  adopted  by  him  represents  an 
order  of  thought  rather  than  a  succession  of  time,  and  may  be 
considered  as  the  first  attempt  to  frame  a  philosophy  of  history. 

The  first  of  these  declining  States  is  timocracy,  or  the  govern- 
ment of  soldiers  and  lovers  of  honour,  which  answers  to  the 
Spartan  State ;  this  is  a  government  of  force,  in  which  education 
is  not  inspired  by  the  Muses,  but  imposed  by  the  law,  and  in 
which  all  the  finer  elements  of  organization  have  disappeared. 
The  philosopher  himself  has  lost  the  love  of  truth,  and  the  soldier, 
who  is  of  a  simpler  and  honester  nature,  rules  in  his  stead.  The 
individual  who  answers  to  timocracy  has  some  noticeable  qualities. 
He  is  described  as  ill  educated,  but,  like  the  Spartan,  a  lover  of 
literature  ;  and  although  he  is  a  harsh  master  to  his  servants  he 
has  no  natural  superiority  over  them.  His  character  is  based 
upon  a  reaction  against  the  circumstances  of  his  father,  who  in 
a  troubled  city  has  retired  from  politics;  and  his  mother,  who 
is  dissatisfied  at  her  own  position,  is  always  urging  him  towards 
the  life  of  political  ambition.  Such  a  character  may  have  had 
this  origin,  and  indeed  Livy  attributes  the  Licinian  laws  to  a  • 

not  historical  but  imaginary.  cxxvii 

feminine  jealousy  of  a  similar  kind  (vii.  34).    But  there  is  obviously   Republic 
no  connection  between  the  manner  in  which  the  timocratic  State   T 


springs  out  of  the  ideal,  and  the  mere  accident  by  which  the       TION. 
timocratic  man  is  the  son  of  a  retired  statesman. 

The  two  next  stages  in  the  decline  of  constitutions  have  even 
less  historical  foundation.  For  there  is  no  trace  in  Greek  history 
of  a  polity  like  the  Spartan  or  Cretan  passing  into  an  oligarchy  of 
wealth,  or  of  the  oligarchy  of  wealth  passing  into  a  democracy. 
The  order  of  history  appears  to  be  different ;  first,  in  the  Homeric 
times  there  is  the  royal  or  patriarchal  form  of  government,  which 
a  century  or  two  later  was  succeeded  by  an  oligarchy  of  birth 
rather  than  of  wealth,  and  in  which  wealth  was  only  the  accident 
of  the  hereditary  possession  of  land  and  power.  Sometimes  this 
oligarchical  government  gave  way  to  a  government  based  upon  a 
qualification  of  property,  which,  according  to  Aristotle's  mode  of 
using  words,  would  have  been  called  a  timocracy ;  and  this  in 
some  cities,  as  at  Athens,  became  the  conducting  medium  to 
democracy.  But  such  was  not  the  necessary  order  of  succession 
in  States ;  nor,  indeed,  can  any  order  be  discerned  in  the  endless 
fluctuation  of  Greek  history  (like  the  tides  in  the  Euripus),  except, 
perhaps,  in  the  almost  uniform  tendency  from  monarchy  to 
aristocracy  in  the  earliest  times.  At  first  sight  there  appears  to 
be  a  similar  inversion  in  the  last  step  of  the  Platonic  succession ; 
for  tyranny,  instead  of  being  the  natural  end  of  democracy,  in 
early  Greek  history  appears  rather  as  a  stage  leading  to  de- 
mocracy; the  reign  of  Peisistratus  and  his  sons  is  an  episode 
which  comes  between  the  legislation  of  Solon  and  the  constitution 
of  Cleisthenes ;  and  some  secret  cause  common  to  them  all  seems 
to  have  led  the  greater  part  of  Hellas  at  her  first  appearance  in 
the  dawn  of  history,  e.g.  Athens,  Argos,  Corinth,  Sicyon,  and 
nearly  every  State  with  the  exception  of  Sparta,  through  a  similar 
stage  of  tyranny  which  ended  either  in  oligarchy  or  democracy. 
But  then  we  must  remember  that  Plato  is  describing  rather  the 
contemporary  governments  of  the  Sicilian  States,  which  alternated 
between  democracy  and  tyranny,  than  the  ancient  history  of 
Athens  or  Corinth. 

The  portrait  of  the  tyrant  himself  is  just  such  as  the  later  Greek 
delighted  to  draw  of  Phalaris  and  Dionysius,  in  which,  as  in  the 
lives  of  mediaeval  saints  or  mythic  heroes,  the  conduct  and  actions 

cxxviii       The  exaggeration  of  Tyranny  and  Democracy. 

Republic   of  one  were  attributed  to  another  in  order  to  fill  up  the  outline. 
VIII.     There  was  no  enormity  which  the  Greek  was  not  ready  to  believe 

TION,      of  them  ;  the  tyrant  was  the  negation  of  government  and  law  ;  his 

assassination  was  glorious;  there  was  no  crime,  however  un- 
natural, which  might  not  with  probability  be  attributed  to  him. 
In  this,  Plato  was  only  following  the  common  thought  of  his 
countrymen,  which  he  embellished  and  exaggerated  with  all 
the  power  of  his  genius.  There  is  no  need  to  suppose  that  he 
drew  from  life  ;  or  that  his  knowledge  of  tyrants  is  derived  from  a 
personal  acquaintance  with  Dionysius.  The  manner  in  which 
he  speaks  of  them  would  rather  tend  to  render  doubtful  his  ever 
having  '  consorted '  with  them,  or  entertained  the  schemes,  which 
are  attributed  to  him  in  the  Epistles,  of  regenerating  Sicily  by 
their  help. 

Plato  in  a  hyperbolical  and  serio-comic  vein  exaggerates  the 
follies  of  democracy  which  he  also  sees  reflected  in  social  life. 
To  him  democracy  is  a  state  of  individualism  or  dissolution ; 
in  which  every  one  is  doing  what  is  right  in  his  own  eyes.  Of 
a  people  animated  by  a  common  spirit  of  liberty,  rising  as  one 
man  to  repel  the  Persian  host,  which  is  the  leading  idea  of 
democracy  in  Herodotus  and  Thucydides,  he  never  seems  to 
think.  But  il  he  is  not  a  believer  in  liberty,  still  less  is  he  a  lover 
of  tyranny.  His  deeper  and  more  serious  condemnation  is  re- 
served for  the  tyrant,  who  is  the  ideal  of  wickedness  and  also 
of  weakness,  and  who  in  his  utter  helplessness  and  suspiciousness 
is  leading  an  almost  impossible  existence,  without  that  remnant  of 
good  which,  in  Plato's  opinion,  was  required  to  give  power  to 
evil  (Book  i.  p.  352).  This  ideal  of  wickedness  living  in  helpless 
misery,  is  the  reverse  of  that  other  portrait  of  perfect  injustice 
ruling  in  happiness  and  splendour,  which  first  of  all  Thrasy- 
machus,  and  afterwards  the  sons  of  Ariston  had  drawn,  and 
is  also  the  reverse  of  the  king  whose  rule  of  life  is  the  good  of 
his  subjects. 

Each  of  these  governments  and  individuals  has  a  corresponding 
ethical  gradation  :  the  ideal  State  is  under  the  rule  of  reason,  not 
extinguishing  but  harmonizing  the  passions,  and  training  them 
in  virtue ;  in  the  timocracy  and  the  timocratic  man  the  constitu- 
tion, whether  of  the  State  or  of  the  individual,  is  based,  first,  upon 
courage,  and  secondly,  upon  the  love  of  honour ;  this  latter  virtue, 

Free  use  of  metaphor  in  Plato.  cxxix 

which  is  hardly  to  be  esteemed  a  virtue,  has  superseded  all  the    Republic 
rest.    In  the  second  stage  of  decline  the  virtues  have  altogether   INTROD  ' 
disappeared,  and  the  love  of  gain  has  succeeded  to  them  ;   in  the       TION- 
third  stage,  or  democracy,  the  various  passions  are  allowed  to 
have  free  play,  and  the  virtues  and  vices  are  impartially  culti- 
vated.   But  this  freedom,  which  leads  to  many  curious  extrava- 
gances of  character,  is  in  reality  only  a  state  of  weakness  and 
dissipation.    At  last,  one  monster  passion  takes  possession  of  the 
whole  nature  of  man — this  is  tyranny.     In  all  of  them  excess — 
the  excess  first  of  wealth  and  then  of  freedom,  is  the  element  of 

The  eighth  book  of  the  Republic  abounds  in  pictures  of  life  and 
fanciful  allusions  ;  the  use  of  metaphorical  language  is  carried  to  a 
greater  extent  than  anywhere  else  in  Plato.  We  may  remark, 
(i),  the  description  of  the  two  nations  in  one,  which  become  more 
and  more  divided  in  the  Greek  Republics,  as  in  feudal  times,  and 
perhaps  also  in  our  own ;  (2),  the  notion  of  democracy  expressed 
in  a  sort  of  Pythagorean  formula  as  equality  among  unequals ; 
(3),  the  free  and  easy  ways  of  men  and  animals,  which  are  charac- 
teristic of  liberty,  as  foreign  mercenaries  and  universal  mistrust 
are  of  the  tyrant ;  (4),  the  proposal  that  mere  debts  should  not  be 
recoverable  by  law  is  a  speculation  which  has  often  been  enter- 
tained by  reformers  of  the  law  in  modern  times,  and  is  in  harmony 
with  the  tendencies  of  modern  legislation.  Debt  and  land  were 
the  two  great  difficulties  of  the  ancient  lawgiver :  in  modern  times 
we  may  be  said  to  have  almost,  if  not  quite,  solved  the  first  of  these 
difficulties,  but  hardly  the  second. 

Still  more  remarkable  are  the  corresponding  portraits  of  in- 
dividuals :  there  is  the  family  picture  of  the  father  and  mother 
and  the  old  servant  of  the  timocratical  man,  and  the  out- 
ward respectability  and  inherent  meanness  of  the  oligarchical ; 
the  uncontrolled  licence  and  freedom  of  the  democrat,  in  which 
the  young  Alcibiades  seems  to  be  depicted,  doing  right  or  wrong 
as  he  pleases,  and  who  at  last,  like  the  prodigal,  goes  into  a  far 
country  (note  here  the  play  of  language  by  which  the  democratic 
man  is  himself  represented  under  the  image  of  a  State  having 
a  citadel  and  receiving  embassies) ;  and  there  is  the  wild-beast 
nature,  which  breaks  loose  in  his  successor.  The  hit  about  the 
tyrant  being  a  parricide  ;  the  representation  of  the  tyrant's  life  as 


cxxx  The  Number  of  the  State. 

Republic   an  obscene  dream ;  the  rhetorical  surprise  of  a  more  miserable 
VIII.      than  the  most  miserable  of  men  in  Book  ix  ;  the  hint  to  the  poets 


TION.  that  if  they  are  the  friends  of  tyrants  there  is  no  place  for  them  in 
a  constitutional  State,  and  that  they  are  too  clever  not  to  see  the 
propriety  of  their  own  expulsion ;  the  continuous  image  of  the 
drones  who  are  of  two  kinds,  swelling  at  last  into  the  monster 
drone  having  wings  (see  infra,  Book  ix),— are  among  Plato's 
happiest  touches.  "> 

There  remains  to  be  considered  the  great  difficulty  of  this  book 
of  the  Republic,  the  so-called  number  of  the  State.  This  is  a 
puzzle  almost  as  great  as  the  Number  of  the  Beast  in  the  Book  of 
Revelation,  and  though  apparently  known  to  Aristotle,  is  referred 
to  by  Cicero  as  a  proverb  of  obscurity  (Ep.  ad  Att.  vii.  13,  5).  And 
some  have  imagined  that  there  is  no  answer  to  the  puzzle,  and 
that  Plato  has  been  practising  upon  his  readers.  But  such  a 
deception  as  this  is  inconsistent  with  the  manner  in  which 
Aristotle  speaks  of  the  number  (Pol.  v.  12,  §  7),  and  would  have 
been  ridiculous  to  any  reader  of  the  Republic  who  was  ac- 
quainted with  Greek  mathematics.  As  little  reason  is  there  for 
supposing  that  Plato  intentionally  used  obscure  expressions ;  the 
obscurity  arises  from  our  want  of  familiarity  with  the  subject. 
On  the  other  hand,  Plato  himself  indicates  that  he  is  not 
altogether  serious,  and  in  describing  his  number  as  a  solemn 
jest  of  the  Muses,  he  appears  to  imply  some  degree  of  satire 
on  the  symbolical  use  of  number.  (Cp.  Cratylus,  passim ;  Protag. 
342  ff.) 

Our  hope  of  understanding  the  passage  depends  principally 
on  an  accurate  study  of  the  words  themselves ;  on  which  a  faint 
light  is  thrown  by  the  parallel  passage  in  the  ninth  book.  Another 
help  is  the  allusion  in  Aristotle,  who  makes  the  important  remark 
that  the  latter  part  of  the  passage  (from  kv  «nVpiro?  irv6fj.rjvt  K.T.X.) 
describes  a  solid  figure1.  Some  further  clue  may  be  gathered 
from  the  appearance  of  the  Pythagorean  triangle,  which  is  denoted 
by  the  numbers  3,  4,  5,  and  in  which,  as  in  every  right-angled 

1  Pol.  v.  12,  §  8  : — '  He  only  says  that  nothing  is  abiding,  but  that  all  things 
change  in  a  certain  cycle ;  and  that  the  origin  of  the  change  is  a  base  of 
numbers  which  are  in  the  ratio  of  4  :  3  ;  and  this  when  combined  with  a  figure  of 
five  gives  two  harmonies ;  he  means  when  the  number  of  this  figure  becomes 

The  Number  of  the  State.  cxxxi 

triangle,  the  squares  of  the  two  lesser  sides  equal  the  square  of  the    Republic 
hypotenuse  (32  +  42  =  52,  or  9+ 16  =  25). 

Plato  begins  by  speaking  of  a  perfect  or  cyclical  number  (cp. 
Tim.  39  D),  i.  e.  a  number  in  which  the  sum  of  the  divisors  equals 
the  whole  ;  this  is  the  divine  or  perfect  number  in  which  all  lesser 
cycles  or  revolutions  are  complete.  He  also  speaks  of  a  human 
or  imperfect  number,  having  four  terms  and  three  intervals  of 
numbers  which  are  related  to  one  another  in  certain  proportions ; 
these  he  converts  into  figures,  and  finds  in  them  when  they  have 
been  raised  to  the  third  power  certain  elements  of  number,  which 
give  two  'harmonies,'  the  one  square,  the  other  oblong;  but  he 
does  not  say  that  the  square  number  answers  to  the  divine,  or 
the  oblong  number  to  the  human  cycle ;  nor  is  any  intimation 
given  that  the  first  or  divine  number  represents  the  period  of  the 
world,  the  second  the  period  of  the  state,  or  of  the  human  race  as 
Zeller  supposes ;  nor  is  the  divine  number  afterwards  mentioned 
(cp.  Arist.).  The  second  is  the  number  of  generations  or  births, 
and  presides  over  them  in  the  same  mysterious  manner  in 
which  the  stars  preside  over  them,  or  in  which,  according  to 
the  Pythagoreans,  opportunity,  justice,  marriage,  are  repre- 
sented by  some  number  or  figure.  This  is  probably  the  number 

The  explanation  given  in  the  text  supposes  the  two  harmonies 
to  make  up  the  number  8000.  This  explanation  derives  a  certain 
plausibility  from  the  circumstance  that  8000  is  the  ancient  number 
of  the  Spartan  citizens  (Herod,  vii.  34),  and  would  be  what  Plato 
might  have  called  '  a  number  which  nearly  concerns  the  popula- 
tion of  a  city '  (588  A) ;  the  mysterious  disappearance  of  the 
Spartan  population  may  possibly  have  suggested  to  him  the  first 
cause  of  his  decline  of  States.  The  lesser  or  square  '  harmony,'  of 
400,  might  be  a  symbol  of  the  guardians, — the  larger  or  oblong 
'  harmony,'  of  the  people,  and  the  numbers  3,  4,  5  might  refer  re- 
spectively to  the  three  orders  in  the  State  or  parts  of  the  soul,  the 
four  virtues,  the  five  forms  of  government.  The  harmony  of  the 
musical  scale,  which  is  elsewhere  used  as  a  symbol  of  the  harmony 
of  the  state  (Rep.  iv.  443  D),  is  also  indicated.  For  the  numbers 
3,  4,  5,  which  represent  the  sides  of  the  Pythagorean  triangle,  also 
denote  the  intervals  of  the  scale. 

The   terms   used    in    the   statement  of  the  problem   may  be 


cxxxii  The  Number  of  the  State. 

Republic   explained  as  follows.  A  perfect  number  (reXeio? 

VIII.      as  aireacjy  stated,  is  one  which  is  equal  to  the  sum  of  its 

TION.     Thus  6,  which  is  the  first  perfect  or  cyclical  number,  = 

The  words  opot, '  terms '  or  '  notes,'  and  aTroorao-cis, '  intervals,'  are 
applicable  to  music  as  well  as  to  number  and  figure.  IIpa>Ta>  is  the 
'base'  on  which  the  whole  calculation  depends,  or  the  'lowest 
term '  from  which  it  can  be  worked  out.  The  words  dwdpevai  rf 
KOI  dvva<rrfv6pcvai  have  been  variously  translated— '  squared  and 
cubed '  (Donaldson),  '  equalling  and  equalled  in  power '  (Weber), 
'  by  involution  and  evolution,'  i.  e.  by  raising  the  power  and  ex- 
tracting the  root  (as  in  the  translation).  Numbers  are  called  '  like 
and  unlike '  (opoiovvres  re  KOI  dvopotovvrfs)  when  the  factors  or  the 
sides  of  the  planes  and  cubes  which  they  represent  are  or  are  not 
in  the  same  ratio :  e.  g.  8  and  27  =  23  and  33 ;  and  conversely. 
'Waxing'  (avgovrcs)  numbers,  called  also  'increasing'  (vnfpreXels), 
are  those  which  are  exceeded  by  the  sum  of  their  divisors  :  e.  g. 
12  and  18  are  less  than  16  and  21.  'Waning '  (<p.6ivovrcs)  numbers, 
called  also  '  decreasing '  (/\Ai7r«s),  are  those  which  exceed  the  sum 
of  their  divisors:  e.g.  8  and  27  exceed  7  and  13.  The  words 
translated  '  commensurable  and  agreeable  to  one  another '  (Trpoo^- 
yopa  KOI  fora)  seem  to  be  different  ways  of  describing  the  same 
relation,  with  more  or  less  precision.  They  are  equivalent  to 
'expressible  in  terms  having  the  same  relation  to  one  another,' 
like  the  series  8,  12,  18,  27,  each  of  which  numbers  is  in  the 
relation  of  i^  to  the  preceding.  The  'base,'  or  'fundamental 
number,  which  has  £  added  to  it '  (i £)  =  £  or  a  musical  fourth. 
'Appovia  is  a  '  proportion '  of  numbers  as  of  musical  notes,  applied 
either  to  the  parts  or  factors  of  a  single  number  or  to  the  relation 
of  one  number  to  another.  The  first  harmony  is  a  'square' 
number  (IO-TJV  Ivdus) ;  the  second  harmony  is  an  '  oblong '  number 
(irpopriKT)),  i.e.  a  number  representing  a  figure  of  which  the 
opposite  sides  only  are  equal.  'Aptd/uu  dnb  8iap(Tpa>v  =  '  numbers 
squared  from '  or  'upon  diameters ' ;  farS*  =  '  rational,'  i.e.  omitting 
fractions,  appqrw*', '  irrational,'  i.  e.  including  fractions  ;  e.  g.  49  is  a 
square  of  the  rational  diameter  of  a  figure  the  side  of  which  =  5  : 
50,  of  an  irrational  diameter  of  the  same.  For  several  of 

the  explanations  here  given  and  for  a  good  deal  besides  I  am 
indebted  to  an  excellent  article  on  the  Platonic  Number  by 
Dr.  Donaldson  (Proc.  of  the  Philol.  Society,  vol.  i.  p.  81  ff. ). 

The  Number  of  the  State.  cxxxiii 

The  conclusions  which  he  draws  from  these  data  are  summed    Republic 
up  by  him  as  follows.    Having  assumed  that  the  number  of  the      VIIL 


perfect  or  divine  cycle  is  the  number  of  the  world,  and  the  ™>N- 
number  of  the  imperfect  cycle  the  number  of  the  state,  he 
proceeds:  'The  period  of  the  world  is  defined  by  the  perfect 
number  6,  that  of  the  state  by  the  cube  of  that  number  or  216, 
which  is  the  product  of  the  last  pair  of  terms  in  the  Platonic 
Tetractys * ;  and  if  we  take  this  as  the  basis  of  our  computation, 
we  shall  have  two  cube  numbers  (avgrjo-eis  BwdpevaL  re  KCU  dwa- 
orevo/Ltewu),  viz.  8  and  27;  and  the  mean  proportionals  between 
these,  viz.  12  and  18,  will  furnish  three  intervals  and  four  terms, 
and  these  terms  and  intervals  stand  related  to  one  another 
in  the  sesqui-altera  ratio,  i.  e.  each  term  is  to  the  preceding  as  f . 
Now  if  we  remember  that  the  number  216  =  8  x  27  =  3*  +  4s  +  53, 
and  that  32  +  42  =  52,  we  must  admit  that  this  number  implies  the 
numbers  3,  4,  5,  to  which  musicians  attach  so  much  importance. 
And  if  we  combine  the  ratio  f  with  the  number  5,  or  multiply 
the  ratios  of  the  sides  by  the  hypotenuse,  we  shall  by  first  squaring 
and  then  cubing  obtain  two  expressions,  which  denote  the  ratio  of 
the  two  last  pairs  of  terms  in  the  Platonic  Tetractys,  the  former 
multiplied  by  the  square,  the  latter  by  the  cube  of  the  number  10, 
the  sum  of  the  first  four  digits  which  constitute  the  Platonic 
Tetractys.'  The  two  dpnoviat  he  elsewhere  explains  as 

follows :  '  The  first  dppovia  is  "IOTJV  tVa/as-  IKCLTOV  roo-avraW,  in  other 
words  (£  x  s)2  =  loo  x  §f.  The  second  Appovia,  a  cube  of  the  same 
root,  is  described  as  100  multipjied  (a)  by  the  rational  diameter  of 
5  diminished  by  unity,  i.  e.,  as  shown  above,  48 :  (/3)  by  two  in- 
commensurable diameters,  i.  e.  the  two  first  irrationals,  or  2  and  3 : 
and  (y)  by  the  cube  of  3,  or  27.  Thus  we  have  (48  +  5  +  27)  100 
=  loco  x  23.  This  second  harmony  is  to  be  the  cube  of  the  number 
of  which  the  former  harmony  is  the  square,  and  therefore  must  be 
divided  by  the  cube  of  3.  In  other  words,  the  whole  expression 
will  be:  (i),  for  the  first  harmony,  ^-:  (2),  for  the  second 
harmony,  ^^.' 

The  reasons  which  have  inclined  me  to  agree  with  Dr.  Donaldson 
and  also  with  Schleiermacher  in  supposing  that  216  is  the  Platonic 
number  of  births  are :  (i)  that  it  coincides  with  the  description  of 
the  number  given  in  the  first  part  of  the  passage  (eV  o>  irpa>T<*  . . . 

1  The  Platonic  Tetractys  consisted  of  a  series  of  seven  terms,  i,  2, 3, 4,  9,  8,  27. 

cxxxiv  The  Niimber  of  the  State. 

Republic   dire^vav) :   (2)  that  the  number  216  with  its  permutations  would 
III.      have  been  familiar  to  a  Greek  mathematician,  though  unfamiliar  to 


TION.  us  :  (3)  that  216  is  the  cube  of  6,  and  also  the  sum  of  33,  4',  53,  the 
numbers  3,  4,  5  representing  the  Pythagorean  triangle,  of  which 
the  sides  when  squared  equal  the  square  of  the  hypotenuse  (32  +  4* 
=  52) :  (4)  that  it  is  also  the  period  of  the  Pythagorean  Metempsy- 
chosis :  (5)  the  three  ultimate  terms  or  bases  (3,  4,  5)  of  which 
216  is  composed  answer  to  the  third,  fourth,  fifth  in  the  musical 
scale  :  (6)  that  the  number  216  is  the  product  of  the  cubes  of  2  and 
3,  which  are  the  two  last  terms  in  the  Platonic  Tetractys :  (7)  that 
the  Pythagorean  triangle  is  said  by  Plutarch  (de  Is.  et  Osir.,  373  E), 
Proclus  (super  prima  Eucl.  iv.  p.  in),  and  Quintilian  (de  Musica 
iii.  p.  152)  to  be  contained  in  this  passage,  so  that  the  tradition  of 
the  school  seems  to  point  in  the  same  direction :  (8)  that  the 
Pythagorean  triangle  is  called  also  the  figure  of  marriage  (ya/^Xtoi/ 


But  though  agreeing  with  Dr.  Donaldson  thus  far,  I  see  no 
reason  for  supposing,  as  he  does,  that  the  first  or  perfect  number 
is  the  world,  the  human  or  imperfect  number  the  state ;  nor  has 
he  given  any  proof  that  the  second  harmony  is  a  cube.  Nor  do 
I  think  that  dpp^rwi/  Se  §v*lv  can  mean  'two  incommensurables,' 
which  he  arbitrarily  assumes  to  be  2  and  3,  but  rather,  as  the 
preceding  clause  implies,  dvelv  dptdnolv  OTTO  dpprjrav  Sia/ieVpooi/  TTffj.- 

TrdSos,  i.  e.  two  square  numbers  based  upon  irrational  diameters  of 
a  figure  the  side  of  which  is  5  =  50  x  2. 

The  greatest  objection  to  the  translation  is  the  sense  given  to 
the  words  eV/rpiroff  irvdfjLT]v  K.T.A.,  'a  base  of  three  with  a  third 
added  to  it,  multiplied  by  5.'  In  this  somewhat  forced  manner 
Plato  introduces  once  more  the  numbers  of  the  Pythagorean 
triangle.  But  the  coincidences  in  the  numbers  which  follow  are 
in  favour  of  the  explanation.  The  first  harmony  of  400,  as  has 
been  already  remarked,  probably  represents  the  rulers;  the 
second  and  oblong  harmony  of  7600,  the  people. 

And  here  we  take  leave  of  the  difficulty.  The  discovery  of 
the  riddle  would  be  useless,  and  would  throw  no  light  on 
ancient  mathematics.  The  point  of  interest  is  that  Plato  should 
have  used  such  a  symbol,  and  that  so  much  of  the  Pythagorean 
spirit  should  have  prevailed  in  him.  His  general  meaning  is 
that  divine  creation  is  perfect,  and  is  represented  or  presided 

The  Number  of  the  State.  cxxxv 

over  by  a  perfect  or  cyclical  number;  human  generation  is  im-  Republic 
perfect,  and  represented  or  presided  over  by  an  imperfect  number 
or  series  of  numbers.  The  number  5040,  which  is  the  number 
of  the  citizens  in  the  Laws,  is  expressly  based  by  him  on  utilitarian 
grounds,  namely,  the  convenience  of  the  number  for  division ;  it 
is  also  made  up  of  the  first  seven  digits  multiplied  by  one  another. 
The  contrast  of  the  perfect  and  imperfect  number  may  have  been 
easily  suggested  by  the  corrections  of  the  cycle,  which  were  made 
first  by  Meton  and  secondly  by  Callippus ;  (the  latter  is  said  to 
have  been  a  pupil  of  Plato).  Of  the  degree  of  importance  or  of 
exactness  to  be  attributed  to  the  problem,  the  number  of  the  tyrant 
in  Book  ix.  (729  =  365  x  2),  and  the  slight  correction  of  the  error  in 
the  number  5040^12  (Laws,  771  C),  may  furnish  a  criterion. 
There  is  nothing  surprising  in  the  circumstance  that  those  who 
were  seeking  for  order  in  nature  and  had  found  order  in  number, 
should  have  imagined  one  to  give  law  to  the  other.  Plato  believes 
in  a  power  of  number  far  beyond  what  he  could  see  realized  in  the 
world  around  him,  and  he  knows  the  great  influence  which  '  the 
little  matter  of  i,  2,  3 '  (vii.  522  C)  exercises  upon  education.  He 
may  even  be  thought  to  have  a  prophetic  anticipation  of  the  dis- 
coveries of  Quetelet  and  others,  that  numbers  depend  upon  num- 
bers; e.g. — in  population,  the  numbers  of  births  and  the  respective 
numbers  of  children  born  of  either  sex,  on  the  respective  ages  of 
parents,  i.e.  on  other  numbers. 

Steph.  BOOK  IX.  Last  of  all  comes  the  tyrannical  man,  about  whom  ANALYSIS. 
5'1  we  have  to  enquire,  Whence  is  he,  and  how  does  he  live — in 
happiness  or  in  misery  ?  There  is,  however,  a  previous  question 
of  the  nature  and  number  of  the  appetites,  which  I  should  like  to 
consider  first.  Some  of  them  are  unlawful,  and  yet  admit  of  being 
chastened  and  weakened  in  various  degrees  by  the  power  of  reason 
and  law.  '  What  appetites  do  you  mean  ? '  I  mean  those  which 
are  awake  when  the  reasoning  powers  are  asleep,  which  get  up  and 
walk  about  naked  without  any  self-respect  or  shame ;  and  there  is 
no  conceivable  folly  or  crime,  however  cruel  or  unnatural,  of  which, 
in  imagination,  they  may  not  be  guilty.  '  True,'  he  said ;  *  very 
true.'  But  when  a  man's  pulse  beats  temperately;  and  he  has 
supped  on  a  feast  of  reason  and  come  to  a  knowledge  of  himself 

cxxxvi  Analysis  572-574. 

Republic  before  going  to  rest,  and  has  satisfied  his  desires  just  enough  to  572 
ANALYSIS  Prevent  t^ie^r  perturbing  his  reason,  which  remains  clear  and 
luminous,  and  when  he  is  free  from  quarrel  and  heat, — the  visions 
which  he  has  on  his  bed  are  least  irregular  and  abnormal.  Even 
in  good  men  there  is  such  an  irregular  wild-beast  nature,  which 
peers  out  in  sleep. 

To  return : — You  remember  what  was  said  of  the  democrat ; 
that  he  was  the  son  of  a  miserly  father,  who  encouraged  the 
saving  desires  and  repressed  the  ornamental  and  expensive  ones ; 
presently  the  youth  got  into  fine  company,  and  began  to  entertain  a 
dislike  to  his  father's  narrow  ways ;  and  being  a  better  man  than 
the  corrupters  of  his  youth,  he  came  to  a  mean,  and  led  a  life,  not 
of  lawless  or  slavish  passion,  but  of  regular  and  successive  indul- 
gence. Now  imagine  that  the  youth  has  become  a  father,  and  has 
a  son  who  is  exposed  to  the  same  temptations,  and  has  companions 
who  lead  him  into  every  sort  of  iniquity,  and  parents  and  friends 
who  try  to  keep  him  right.  The  counsellors  of  evil  find  that  their  573 
only  chance  of  retaining  him  is  to  implant  in  his  soul  a  monster 
drone,  or  love  ;  while  other  desires  buzz  around  him  and  mystify 
him  with  sweet  sounds  and  scents,  this  monster  love  takes  pos- 
session of  him,  and  puts  an  end  to  every  true  or  modest  thought 
or  wish.  Love,  like  drunkenness  and  madness,  is  a  tyranny ;  and 
the  tyrannical  man,  whether  made  by  nature  or  habit,  is  just  a 
drinking,  lusting,  furious  sort  of  animal. 

And  how  does  such  an  one  live  ?  *  Nay,  that  you  must  tell  me.' 
Well  then,  I  fancy  that  he  will  live  amid  revelries  and  harlotries, 
and  love  will  be  the  lord  and  master  of  the  house.  Many  desires 
require  much  money,  and  so  he  spends  all  that  he  has  and 
borrows  more ;  and  when  he  has  nothing  the  young  ravens  are 
still  in  the  nest  in  which  they  were  hatched,  crying  for  food.  Love  574 
urges  them  on ;  and  they  must  be  gratified  by  force  or  fraud,  or  if 
not,  they  become  painful  and  troublesome;  and  as  the  new 
pleasures  succeed  the  old  ones,  so  will  the  son  take  possession  of 
the  goods  of  his  parents ;  if  they  show  signs  of  refusing,  he  will 
defraud  and  deceive  them ;  and  if  they  openly  resist,  what  then  ? 
'  I  can  only  say,  that  I  should  not  much  like  to  be  in  their  place.'  But, 
O  heavens,  Adeimantus,  to  think  that  for  some  new-fangled  and 
unnecessary  love  he  will  give  up  his  old  father  and  mother,  best 
and  dearest  of  friends,  or  enslave  them  to  the  fancies  of  the  hour ! 

Analysis  574-577.  cxxxvii 

Truly  a  tyrannical  son  is   a  blessing  to  his  father  and  mother!    Republic 


When  there  is  no  more  to  be  got  out  of  them,  he  turns  burglar  or 

pickpocket,  or  robs  a  temple.     Love  overmasters  the  thoughts  of 
his  youth,  and  he  becomes  in  sober  reality  the  monster  that  he 

575  was  sometimes  in  sleep.     He  waxes  strong  in  all  violence  and 
lawlessness ;   and   is   ready  for  any   deed    of  daring  that   will 
supply  the  wants  of  his  rabble-rout.     In  a  well-ordered  State 
there  are  only  a  few  such,  and  these  in  time  of  war  go  out  and 
become  the  mercenaries  of  a  tyrant.    But  in  time  of  peace  they 
stay  at  home  and  do  mischief;   they  are  the  thieves,  footpads, 
cut-purses,  man-stealers  of  the  community ;  or  if  they  are  able 
to  speak,  they  turn  false-witnesses  and  informers.     '  No  small 
catalogue  of  crimes  truly,  even  if  the  perpetrators  are  few.'    Yes,  I 
said  ;  but  small  and  great  are  relative  terms,  and  no  crimes  which 
are  committed  by  them  approach  those  of  the  tyrant,  whom  this 
class,  growing  strong  and  numerous,  create  out  of  themselves.    If 
the  people  yield,  well  and  good ;  but,  if  they  resist,  then,  as  before 
he  beat  his  father  and  mother,  so  now  he  beats  his  fatherland  and 
motherland,  and  places  his  mercenaries  over  them.    Such  men  in 
their  early  days  live  with  flatterers,  and  they  themselves  flatter 

576  others,  in  order  to  gain  their  ends ;  but  they  soon  discard  their 
followers  when  they  have  no  longer  any  need  of  them  ;  they  are 
always  either  masters  or  servants, — the  joys  of  friendship  are 
unknown  to  them.    And  they  are  utterly  treacherous  and  unjust, 
if  the  nature  of  justice  be  at  all  understood  by  us.    They  realize 
our  dream ;  and  he  who  is  the  most  of  a  tyrant  by  nature,  and 
leads  the  life  of  a  tyrant  for  the  longest  time,  will  be  the  worst 
of  them,  and  being  the  worst  of  them,  will  also  be  the  most 

Like  man,  like  State, — the  tyrannical  man  will  answer  to  tyranny, 
which  is  the  extreme  opposite  of  the  royal  State ;  for  one  is  the 
best  and  the  other  the  worst.  But  which  is  the  happier  ?  Great 
and  terrible  as  the  tyrant  may  appear  enthroned  amid  his  satel- 
lites, let  us  not  be  afraid  to  go  in  and  ask ;  and  the  answer  is,  that 
the  monarchical  is  the  happiest,  and  the  tyrannical  the  most 

577  miserable  of  States.     And  may  we  not  ask  the  same  question 
about  the  men  themselves,  requesting  some  one  to  look  into  them 
who  is  able  to  penetrate  the  inner  nature  of  man,  and  will  not  be 
panic-struck  by  the  vain  pomp  of  tyranny  ?    I  will  suppose  that  he 

cxxxviii  Analysis  577-579. 

Republic   is  one  who  has  lived  with  him,  and  has  seen  him  in  family  life, 
™       or  perhaps  in  the  hour  of  trouble  and  danger. 


Assuming  that  we  ourselves  are  the  impartial  judge  for  whom 
we  seek,  let  us  begin  by  comparing  the  individual  and  State,  and  ' 
ask  first  of  all,  whether  the  State  is  likely  to  be  free  or  enslaved — 
Will  there  not  be  a  little  freedom  and  a  great  deal  of  slavery  ?  And 
the  freedom  is  of  the  bad,  and  the  slavery  of  the  good  ;  and  this 
applies  to  the  man  as  well  as  to  the  State ;  for  his  soul  is  full  of 
meanness  and  slavery,  and  the  better  part  is  enslaved  to  the 
worse.  He  cannot  do  what  he  would,  and  his  mind  is  full  of  con- 
fusion ;  he  is  the  very  reverse  of  a  freeman.  The  State  will  be  578 
poor  and  full  of  misery  and  sorrow  ;  and  the  man's  soul  will  also 
be  poor  and  full  of  sorrows,  and  he  will  be  the  most  miserable  of 
men.  No,  not  the  most  miserable,  for  there  is  yet  a  more  miser- 
able. '  Who  is  that  ? '  The  tyrannical  man  who  has  the  misfortune 
also  to  become  a  public  tyrant.  '  There  I  suspect  that  you  are 
right.'  Say  rather,  '  I  am  sure ;'  conjecture  is  out  of  place  in  an 
enquiry  of  this  nature.  He  is  like  a  wealthy  owner  of  slaves, 
only  he  has  more  of  them  than  any  private  individual.  You  will 
say, '  The  owners  of  slaves  are  not  generally  in  any  fear  of  them.' 
But  why  ?  Because  the  whole  city  is  in  a  league  which  protects 
the  individual.  Suppose  however  that  one  of  these  owners  and 
his  household  is  carried  off  by  a  god  into  a  wilderness,  where  there 
are  no  freemen  to  help  him — will  he  not  be  in  an  agony  of  terror  ? 
— will  he  not  be  compelled  to  flatter  his  slaves  and  to  promise  them  579 
many  things  sore  against  his  will  ?  And  suppose  the  same  god 
who  carried  him  off  were  to  surround  him  with  neighbours  who 
declare  that  no  man  ought  to  have  slaves,  and  that  the  owners  of 
them  should  be  punished  with  death.  *  Still  worse  and  worse  ! 
He  will  be  in  the  midst  of  his  enemies.'  And  is  not  our  tyrant 
such  a  captive  soul,  who  is  tormented  by  a  swarm  of  passions 
which  he  cannot  indulge ;  living  indoors  always  like  a  woman,  and 
jealous  of  those  who  can  go  out  and  see  the  world  ? 

Having  so  many  evils,  will  not  the  most  miserable  of  men  be 
still  more  miserable  in  a  public  station  ?  Master  of  others  when 
he  is  not  master  of  himself;  like  a  sick  man  who  is  compelled  to  be 
an  athlete  ;  the  meanest  of  slaves  and  the  most  abject  of  flatterers ; 
wanting  all  things,  and  never  able  to  satisfy  his  desires  ;  always  in 
fear  and  distraction,  like  the  State  of  which  he  is  the  representative. 

Analysis  580-583.  cxxxix 

580  His  jealous,  hateful,  faithless  temper  grows  worse  with    com-    Republic 
mand ;  he  is  more  and  more  faithless,  envious,  unrighteous, — the 

most  wretched  of  men,  a  misery  to  himself  and  to  others.  And 
so  let  us  have  a  final  trial  and  proclamation ;  need  we  hire  a 
herald,  or  shall  I  proclaim  the  result  ?  <  Make  the  proclamation 
yourself.'  The  son  of  Ariston  (the  best]  is  of  opinion  that  the  best 
and  justest  of  men  is  also  the  happiest^  and  that  this  is  he  who  is  the 
most  royal  master  of  himself j  and  that  the  unjust  man  is  he  who  is 
the  greatest  tyrant  of  himself  and  of  his  State.  And  I  add  further — 
*  seen  or  unseen  by  gods  or  men? 

This  is  our  first  proof.    The  second  is  derived  from  the  three 
kinds  of  pleasure,  which  answer  to  the  three  elements  of  the  soul 

581  — reason,  passion,  desire ;    under  which  last  is  comprehended 
avarice  as  well  as  sensual  appetite,  while  passion  includes  am- 
bition, party-feeling,  love  of  reputation.     Reason,  again,  is  solely 
directed  to  the  attainment  of  truth,  and  careless  of  money  and 
reputation.     In  accordance  with  the  difference  of  men's  natures, 
one  of  these  three  principles  is  in  the  ascendant,  and  they  have 
their  several  pleasures  corresponding  to  them.    Interrogate  now 
the  three  natures,  and  each  one  will  be  found  praising  his  own 
pleasures  and  depreciating  those  of  others.     The  money-maker 
will  contrast  the  vanity  of  knowledge  with  the  solid  advantages  of 
wealth.    The  ambitious  man  will  despise  knowledge  which  brings 
no  honour  ;  whereas  the  philosopher  will  regard  only  the  fruition 
of  truth,  and  will  call  other  pleasures  necessary  rather  than  good. 

582  Now,  how  shall  we  decide  between  them  ?     Is  there  any  better 
criterion  than  experience  and  knowledge?     And  which  of  the 
three  has  the  truest  knowledge  and  the  widest  experience  ?    The 
experience  of  youth  makes  the  philosopher  acquainted  with  the 
two  kinds  of  desire,  but  the  avaricious  and  the  ambitious  man  never 
taste  the  pleasures  of  truth  and  wisdom.    Honour  he  has  equally 
with  them;   they  are  'judged  of  him,'  but  he  is  'not  judged  of 
them,'  for  they  never  attain  to  the  knowledge  of  true  being.    And 
his  instrument  is  reason,  whereas  their  standard  is  only  wealth 
and  honour  ;  and  if  by  reason  we  are  to  judge,  his  good  will  be  the 
truest.    And  so  we  arrive  at  the  result  that  the  pleasure  of  the 
rational  part  .of  the  soul,  and  a  life  passed  in  such  pleasure  is  the 

583  pleasantest.    He  who  has  a  right  to  judge  judges  thus.    Next  comes 
the  life  of  ambition,  and,  in  the  third  place,  that  of  money-making. 

cxl  Analysis  583-585. 

Republic  Twice  has  the  just  man  overthrown  the  unjust— once  more,  as  in 
ANALYSIS.  an  OtymPian  contest,  first  offering  up  a  prayer  to  the  saviour  Zeus, 
let  him  try  a  fall.  A  wise  man  whispers  to  me  that  the  pleasures 
of  the  wise  are  true  and  pure  ;  all  others  are  a  shadow  only.  Let 
us  examine  this  :  Is  not  pleasure  opposed  to  pain,  and  is  there  not 
a  mean  state  which  is  neither  ?  When  a  man  is  sick,  nothing  is 
more  pleasant  to  him  than  health.  But  this  he  never  found  out 
while  he  was  well.  In  pain  he  desires  only  to  cease  from  pain;  on 
the  other  hand,  when  he  is  in  an  ecstasy  of  pleasure,  rest  is  painful 
to  him.  Thus  rest  or  cessation  is  both  pleasure  and  pain.  But 
can  that  which  is  neither  become  both  ?  Again,  pleasure  and  pain 
are  motions,  and  the  absence  of  them  is  rest ;  but  if  so,  how  can  584 
the  absence  of  either  of  them  be  the  other  ?  Thus  we  are  led  to 
infer  that  the  contradiction  is  an  appearance  only,  and  witchery  of 
the  senses.  And  these  are  not  the  only  pleasures,  for  there  are 
others  which  have  no  preceding  pains.  Pure  pleasure  then  is  not 
the  absence  of  pain,  nor  pure  pain  the  absence  of  pleasure  ; 
although  most  of  the  pleasures  which  reach  the  mind  through 
the  body  are  reliefs  of  pain,  and  have  not  only  their  reactions  when 
they  depart,  but  their  anticipations  before  they  come.  They  can 
be  best  described  in  a  simile.  There  is  in  nature  an  upper,  lower, 
and  middle  region,  and  he  who  passes  from  the  lower  to  the 
middle  imagines  that  he  is  going  up  and  is  already  in  the  upper 
world ;  and  if  he  were  taken  back  again  would  think,  and  truly 
think,  that  he  was  descending.  All  this  arises  out  of  his  ignorance 
of  the  true  upper,  middle,  and  lower  regions.  And  a  like  confu- 
sion happens  with  pleasure  and  pain,  and  with  many  other  things. 
The  man  who  compares  grey  with  black,  calls  grey  white ;  and  585 
the  man  who  compares  absence  of  pain  with  pain,  calls  the  absence 
of  pain  pleasure.  Again,  hunger  and  thirst  are  inanitions  of  the 
body,  ignorance  and  folly  of  the  soul ;  and  food  is  the  satisfaction 
of  the  one,  knowledge  of  the  other.  Now  which  is  the  purer 
satisfaction — that  of  eating  and  drinking,  or  that  of  knowledge? 
Consider  the  matter  thus  :  The  satisfaction  of  that  which  has  more 
existence  is  truer  than  of  that  which  has  less.  The  invariable  and 
immortal  has  a  more  real  existence  than  the  variable  and  mortal, 
and  has  a  corresponding  measure  of  knowledge  and  truth.  The 
soul,  again,  has  more  existence  and  truth  and  knowledge  than  the 
body,  and  is  therefore  more  really  satisfied  and  has  a  more 

Analysis   586-588.  cxli 

586  natural  pleasure.     Those  who  feast  only  on  earthly  food,  are    Republic 


always  going  at  random  up  to  the  middle  and  down  again ;  but 
they  never  pass  into  the  true  upper  world,  or  have  a  taste  of  true 
pleasure.  They  are  like  fatted  beasts,  full  of  gluttony  and  sensua- 
lity, and  ready  to  kill  one  another  by  reason  of  their  insatiable 
lust ;  for  they  are  not  filled  with  true  being,  and  their  vessel  is 
leaky  (cp.  Gorgias,  243  A,  foil.).  Their  pleasures  are  mere 
shadows  of  pleasure,  mixed  with  pain,  coloured  and  intensified  by 
contrast,  and  therefore  intensely  desired ;  and  men  go  fighting 
about  them,  as  Stesichorus  says  that  the  Greeks  fought  about  the 
shadow  of  Helen  at  Troy,  because  they  know  not  the  truth. 

The  same  may  be  said  of  the  passionate  element :— the  desires 
of  the  ambitious  soul,  as  well  as  of  the  covetous,  have  an  inferior 
satisfaction.  Only  when  under  the  guidance  of  reason  do  either  of 

587  the  other  principles  do  their  own  business  or  attain  the  pleasure 
which  is  natural  to  them.    When  not  attaining,  they  compel  the 
other  parts  of  the  soul  to  pursue  a  shadow  of  pleasure  which  is  not 
theirs.     And  the  more  distant  they  are  from  philosophy  and 
reason,  the  more  distant  they  will  be  from  law  and  order,  and 
the  more  illusive  will  be  their  pleasures.     The  desires  of  love 
and  tyranny  are  the  farthest  from  law,  and  those  of  the  king 
are  nearest    to  it.      There  is  one  genuine  pleasure,    and    two 
spurious  ones  :  the  tyrant  goes  beyond  even  the  latter ;  he  has 
run  away  altogether  from  law  and  reason.    Nor  can  the  measure 
of  his  inferiority  be  told,  except  in  a  figure.    The  tyrant  is  the 
third  removed  from  the  oligarch,  and  has  therefore,  not  a  shadow 
of  his  pleasure,  but  the  shadow  of  a  shadow  only.    The  oligarch, 
again,  is  thrice  removed  from  the  king,  and  thus  we  get  the  for- 
mula 3x3,  which  is  the  number  of  a  surface,  representing  the 
shadow  which  is  the  tyrant's  pleasure,  and  if  you  like  to  cube 
this  f  number  of  the  beast,'  you  will  find  that  the  measure  of 
the  difference  amounts  to  729 ;  the  king  is  729  times  more  happy 
than  the  tyrant.    And  this  extraordinary  number  is  nearly  equal 
to  the  number  of  days  and  nights  in  a  year  (365  x  2  =  730) ;  and 

588  is  therefore  concerned  with   human    life.    This  is  the  interval 
between  a  good  and  bad  man  in  happiness  only :  what  must 
be  the  difference  between  them  in  comeliness  of  life  and  virtue  ! 

Perhaps  you  may  remember  some  one  saying  at  the  beginning 
of  our  discussion  that  the  unjust  man  was  profited  if  he  had  the 

cxlii  Analysis  588-590. 

Republic  reputation  of  justice.  Now  that  we  know  the  nature  of  justice 
ANALYSIS  and  injusticei  let  us  make  an  image  of  the  soul,  which  will 
personify  his  words.  First  of  all,  fashion  a  multitudinous  beast, 
having  a  ring  of  heads  of  all  manner  of  animals,  tame  and  wild, 
and  able  to  produce  and  change  them  at  pleasure.  Suppose 
now  another  form  of  a  lion,  and  another  of  a  man ;  the  second 
smaller  than  the  first,  the  third  than  the  second  ;  join  them 
together  and  cover  them  with  a  human  skin,  in  which  they  are 
completely  concealed.  When  this  has  been  done,  let  us  tell 
the  supporter  of  injustice  that  he  is  feeding  up  the  beasts  and  589 
starving  the  man.  The  maintainer  of  justice,  on  the  other  hand, 
is  trying  to  strengthen  the  man  ;  he  is  nourishing  the  gentle 
principle  within  him,  and  making  an  alliance  with  the  lion  heart, 
in  order  that  he  may  be  able  to  keep  down  the  many-headed 
hydra,  and  bring  all  into  unity  with  each  other  and  with  them- 
selves. Thus  in  every  point  of  view,  whether  in  relation  to 
pleasure,  honour,  or  advantage,  the  just  man  is  right,  and  the 
unjust  wrong. 

But  now,  let  us  reason  with  the  unjust,  who  is  not  intentionally 
in  error.  Is  not  the  noble  that  which  subjects  the  beast  to  the 
man,  or  rather  to  the  God  in  man ;  the  ignoble,  that  which  sub- 
jects the  man  to  the  beast  ?  And  if  so,  who  would  receive  gold  on 
condition  that  he  was  to  degrade  the  noblest  part  of  himself  under 
the  worst? — who  would  sell  his  son  or  daughter  into  the  hands 
of  brutal  and  evil  men,  for  any  amount  of  money  ?  And  will 
he  sell  his  own  fairer  and  diviner  part  without  any  compunction 
to  the  most  godless  and  foul  ?  Would  he  not  be  worse  than  590 
Eriphyle,  who  sold  her  husband's  life  for  a  necklace  ?  And  in- 
temperance is  the  letting  loose  of  the  multiform  monster,  and 
pride  and  sullenness  are  the  growth  and  increase  of  the  lion 
and  serpent  element,  while  luxury  and  effeminacy  are  caused 
by  a  too  great  relaxation  of  spirit.  Flattery  and  meanness  again 
arise  when  the  spirited  element  is  subjected  to  avarice,  and  the 
lion  is  habituated  to  become  a  monkey.  The  real  disgrace  of 
handicraft  arts  is,  that  those  who  are  engaged  in  them  have 
to  flatter,  instead  of  mastering  their  desires ;  therefore  we  say 
that  they  should  be  placed  under  the  control  of  the  better  prin- 
ciple in  another  because  they  have  none  in  themselves ;  not,  as 
Thrasymachus  imagined,  to  the  injury  of  the  subjects,  but  for 

Analysis  591,  592.  cxliii 

their  good.     And  our  intention  in   educating  the  young,  is  to    Republic 

591  give  them  self-control;  the  law  desires  to  nurse  up  in  them  a    ANALY'SIS 
higher  principle,  and  when  they  have  acquired  this,  they  may 

go  their  ways. 

'  What,  then,  shall  a  man  profit,  if  he  gain  the  whole  world ' 
and  become  more  and  more  wicked  ?  Or  what  shall  he  profit  by 
escaping  discovery,  if  the  concealment  of  evil  prevents  the  cure  ? 
If  he  had  been  punished,  the  brute  within  him  would  have  been 
silenced,  and  the  gentler  element  liberated ;  and  he  would  have 
united  temperance,  justice,  and  wisdom  in  his  soul — a  union 
better  far  than  any  combination  of  bodily  gifts.  The  man  of 
understanding  will  honour  knowledge  above  all ;  in  the  next  place 
he  will  keep  under  his  body,  not  only  for  the  sake  of  health 
and  strength,  but  in  order  to  attain  the  most  perfect  harmony 
of  body  and  soul.  In  the  acquisition  of  riches,  too,  he  will  aim 
at  order  and  harmony ;  he  will  not  desire  to  heap  up  wealth 
without  measure,  but  he  will  fear  that  the  increase  of  wealth 
will  disturb  the  constitution  of  his  own  soul.  For  the  same 

592  reason  he  will  only  accept  such  honours  as  will  make  him  a 
better  man ;  any  others  he  will  decline.    '  In  that  case,'  said  he, 
'  he  will  never  be  a  politician.'    Yes,  but  he  will,  in  his  own  city ; 
though  probably  not  in  his  native  country,  unless  by  some  divine 
accident.    '  You  mean  that  he  will  be  a  citizen  of  the  ideal  city, 
which  has  no  place  upon  earth.'      But    in  heaven,   I    replied, 
there  is  a  pattern  of  such  a  city,  and  he  who  wishes  may  order 
his  life  after  that  image.    Whether  such  a  state  is  or  ever  will 
be  matters  not;    he  will  act  according  to  that  pattern  and  no 

The  most  noticeable  points  in  the  9th  Book  of  the  Republic    INTRODUC- 
are  : — (i)  the  account  of  pleasure  ;  (2)  the  number  of  the  interval 
which  divides  the  king  from  the  tyrant ;  (3)  the  pattern  which  is  in 

i.  Plato's  account  of  pleasure  is  remarkable  for  moderation, 
and  in  this  respect  contrasts  with  the  later  Platonists  and  the 
views  which  are  attributed  to  them  by  Aristotle.  He  is  not, 
like  the  Cynics,  opposed  to  all  pleasure,  but  rather  desires  that 
the  several  parts  of  the  soul  shall  have  their  natural  satisfac- 
tion ;  he  even  agrees  with  the  Epicureans  in  describing  pleasure 

cxliv  Plato 's  Account  of  pleasure. 

Republic  as  something  more  than  the  absence  of  pain.  This  is  proved 
INTRODUC-  by  tne  circumstance  tnat  there  are  pleasures  which  have  no 
TION.  antecedent  pains  (as  he  also  remarks  in  the  Philebus),  such  as 
the  pleasures  of  smell,  and  also  the  pleasures  of  hope  and  an- 
ticipation. In  the  previous  book  (pp.  558,  559)  he  had  made  the 
distinction  between  necessary  and  unnecessary  pleasure,  which  is 
repeated  by  Aristotle,  and  he  now  observes  that  there  are  a 
further  class  of  '  wild  beast '  pleasures,  corresponding  to  Aris- 
totle's 0T)pioTT)s.  He  dwells  upon  the  relative  and  unreal  character 
of  sensual  pleasures  and  the  illusion  which  arises  out  of  the 
contrast  of  pleasure  and  pain,  pointing  out  the  superiority  of 
the  pleasures  of  reason,  which  are  at  rest,  over  the  fleeting 
pleasures  of  sense  and  emotion.  The  pre-eminence  of  royal 
pleasure  is  shown  by  the  fact  that  reason  is  able  to  form,  a 
judgment  of  the  lower  pleasures,  while  the  two  lower  parts  of 
the  soul  are  incapable  of  judging  the  pleasures  of  reason.  Thus, 
in  his  treatment  of  pleasure,  as  in  many  other  subjects,  the 
philosophy  of  Plato  is  '  sawn  up  into  quantities '  by  Aristotle ; 
the  analysis  which  was  originally  made  by  him  became  in  the 
next  generation  the  foundation  of  further  technical  distinctions. 
Both  in  Plato  and  Aristotle  we  note  the  illusion  under  which 
the  ancients  fell  of  regarding  the  transience  of  pleasure  as  a  proof 
of  its  unreality,  and  of  confounding  the  permanence  of  the  in- 
tellectual pleasures  with  the  unchangeableness  of  the  knowledge 
from  which  they  are  derived.  Neither  do  we  like  to  admit  that 
the  pleasures  of  knowledge,  though  more  elevating,  are  not 
more  lasting  than  other  pleasures,  and  are  almost  equally  de- 
pendent on  the  accidents  of  our  bodily  state  (cp.  Introd.  to 

2.  The  number  of  the  interval  which  separates  the  king  from 
the  tyrant,  and  royal  from  tyrannical  pleasures,  is  729,  the  cube 
of  9,  which  Plato  characteristically  designates  as  a  number  con- 
cerned with  human  life,  because  nearly  equivalent  to  the  number 
of  days  and  nights  in  the  year.  He  is  desirous  of  proclaiming 
that  the  interval  between  them  is  immeasurable,  and  invents  a 
formula  to  give  expression  to  his  idea.  Those  who  spoke  of 
justice  as  a  cube,  of  virtue  as  an  art  of  measuring  (Prot.  357  A), 
saw  no  inappropriateness  in  conceiving  the  soul  under  the  figure 
of  a  line,  or  the  pleasure  of  the  tyrant  as  separated  from  the 

*  The  kingdom  of  heaven  is  within  you'  cxlv 

pleasure  of  the  king  by  the  numerical  interval  of  729.  And  in  Republic 
modern  times  we  sometimes  use  metaphorically  what  Plato  lNTROpUC 
employed  as  a  philosophical  formula.  '  It  is  not  easy  to  estimate  TION- 
the  loss  of  the  tyrant,  except  perhaps  in  this  way,'  says  Plato. 
So  we  might  say,  that  although  the  life  of  a  good  man  is  not 
to  be  compared  to  that  of  a  bad  man,  yet  you  may  measure  the 
diiference  between  them  by  valuing  one  minute  of  the  one  at 
an  hour  of  the  other  ('  One  day  in  thy  courts  is  better  than  a 
thousand '),  or  you  might  say  that  '  there  is  an  infinite  diiference.' 
But  this  is  not  so  much  as  saying,  in  homely  phrase,  *  They  are 
a  thousand  miles  asunder.'  And  accordingly  Plato  finds  the 
natural  vehicle  of  his  thoughts  in  a  progression  of  numbers; 
this  arithmetical  formula  he  draws  out  with  the  utmost  serious- 
ness, and  both  here  and  in  the  number  of  generation  seems  to 
find  an  additional  proof  of  the  truth  of  his  speculation  in  forming 
the  number  into  a  geometrical  figure ;  just  as  persons  in  our  own 
day  are  apt  to  fancy  that  a  statement  is  verified  when  it  has  been 
only  thrown  into  an  abstract  form.  In  speaking  of  the  number 
729  as  proper  to  human  life,  he  probably  intended  to  intimate 
that  one  year  of  the  tyrannical  =  12  hours  of  the  royal  life. 

The  simple  observation  that  the  comparison  of  two  similar  solids 
is  effected  by  the  comparison  of  the  cubes  of  their  sides,  is  the 
mathematical  groundwork  of  this  fanciful  expression.  There  is 
some  difficulty  in  explaining  the  steps  by  which  the  number 
729  is  obtained ;  the  oligarch  is  removed  in  the  third  degree 
from  the  royal  and  aristocratical,  and  the  tyrant  in  the  third 
degree  from  the  oligarchical ;  but  we  have  to  arrange  the  terms 
as  the  sides  of  a  square  and  to  count  the  oligarch  twice  over, 
thus  reckoning  them  not  as  =  5  but  as  =  9.  The  square  of  9  is 
passed  lightly  over  as  only  a  step  towards  the  cube. 

3.  Towards  the  close  of  the  Republic,  Plato  seems  to  be  more 
and  more  convinced  of  the  ideal  character  of  his  own  specula- 
tions. At  the  end  of  the  9th  Book  the  pattern  which  is  in  heaven 
takes  the  place  of  the  city  of  philosophers  on  earth.  The  vision 
which  has  received  form  and  substance  at  his  hands,  is  now 
discovered  to  be  at  a  distance.  And  yet  this  distant  kingdom 
is  also  the  rule  of  man's  life  (Bk.  vii.  540  E).  ('  Say  not  lo ! 
here,  or  lo !  there,  for  the  kingdom  of  God  is  within  you.')  Thus 
a  note  is  struck  which  prepares  for  the  revelation  of  a  future 


cxlvi  Analysis  595-597. 

Republic    life  in  the  following  Book.    But  the  future  life  is  present  still ;  the 


T  y 

ideal  of  politics  is  to  be  realized  in  the  individual. 

ANALYSIS.  BOOK  X.  Many  things  pleased  me  in  the  order  of  our  State,  Steph. 
but  there  was  nothing  which  I  liked  better  than  the  regulation  595 
about  poetry.  The  division  of  the  soul  throws  a  new  light  on 
our  exclusion  of  imitation.  I  do  not  mind  telling  you  in  confi- 
dence that  all  poetry  is  an  outrage  on  the  understanding,  unless 
the  hearers  have  that  balm  of  knowledge  which  heals  error. 
I  have  loved  Homer  ever  since  I  was  a  boy,  and  even  now  he 
appears  to  me  to  be  the  great  master  of  tragic  poetry.  But 
much  as  I  love  the  man,  I  love  truth  more,  and  therefore  I 
must  speak  out :  and  first  of  all,  will  you  explain  what  is  imita- 
tion, for  really  I  do  not  understand  ?  '  How  likely  then  that  I 
should  understand  ! '  That  might  very  well  be,  for  the  duller  often  596 
sees  better  than  the  keener  eye.  'True,  but  in  your  presence 
I  can  hardly  venture  to  say  what  I  think.'  Then  suppose  that 
we  begin  in  our  old  fashion,  with  the  doctrine  of  universals. 
Let  us  assume  the  existence  of  beds  and  tables.  There  is  one 
idea  of  a  bed,  or  of  a  table,  which  the  maker  of  each  had  in 
his  mind  when  making  them ;  he  did  not  make  the  ideas  of  beds 
and  tables,  but  he  made  beds  and  tables  according  to  the  ideas. 
And  is  there  not  a  maker  of  the  works  of  all  workmen,  who 
makes  not  only  vessels  but  plants  and  animals,  himself,  the 
earth  and  heaven,  and  things  in  heaven  and  under  the  earth? 
He  makes  the  Gods  also.  '  He  must  be  a  wizard  indeed ! '  But 
do  you  not  see  that  there  is  a  sense  in  which  you  could  dp 
the  same  ?  You  have  only  to  take  a  mirror,  and  catch  the 
reflection  of  the  sun,  and  the  earth,  or  anything  else— there  now 
you  have  made  them.  '  Yes,  but  only  in  appearance.'  Exactly  so  ; 
and  the  painter  is  such  a  creator  as  you  are  with  the  mirror,  and 
he  is  even  more  unreal  than  the  carpenter;  although  neither 
the  carpenter  nor  any  other  artist  can  be  supposed  to  make  597 
the  absolute  bed.  '  Not  if  philosophers  may  be  believed.'  Nor 
need  we  wonder  that  his  bed  has  but  an  imperfect  relation  to 
the  truth.  Reflect : — Here  are  three  beds ;  one  in  nature,  which 
is  made  by  God  ;  another,  which  is  made  by  the  carpenter ;  and 
the  third,  by  the  painter.  God  only  made  one,  nor  could  he 
have  made  more  than  one;  for  if  there  had  been  two,  there 

Analysis  597-600.  cxlvii 

would  always  have  been  a  third — more  absolute  and    abstract    Republic 
than  either,  under  which  they  would  have  been  included.    We        X' 


may  therefore  conceive  God  to  be  the  natural  maker  of  the  bed, 
and  in  a  lower  sense  the  carpenter  is  also  the  maker ;  but  the 
painter  is  rather  the  imitator  of  what  the  other  two  make ;  he 
has  to  do  with  a  creation  which  is  thrice  removed  from  reality. 
And  the  tragic  poet  is  an  imitator,  and,  like  every  other  imitator, 
is  thrice  removed  from  the  king  and  from  the  truth.  The  painter 

598  imitates  not  the  original  bed,  but  the  bed  made  by  the  carpenter. 
And  this,  without  being  really  different,  appears  to  be  different, 
and  has  many  points  of  view,  of  which  only  one  is  caught  by 
the  painter,  who  represents  everything  because  he  represents 
a  piece  of  everything,  and  that  piece  an  image.    And  he  can 
paint  any  other  artist,  although  he  knows  nothing  of  their  arts ;  and 
this  with  sufficient  skill  to  deceive  children  or  simple  people. 
Suppose  now  that  somebody  came  to  us  and  told  us,  how  he 
had  met  a  man  who  knew  all  that  everybody  knows,  and  better 
than  anybody : — should  we  not  infer  him  to  be  a  simpleton  who, 
having  no  discernment  of  truth  and  falsehood,  had  met  with  a 
wizard  or  enchanter,  whom  he  fancied  to  be  all-wise  ?    And  when 
we  hear  persons  saying  that  Homer  and  the  tragedians  know 
all  the  arts  and  all  the  virtues,  must  we  not  infer  that  they  are 

599  under  a  similar  delusion  ?    they  do  not  see  that  the  poets  are 
imitators,  and  that  their  creations  are  only  imitations.     'Very 
true.'     But  if  a  person  could  create  as  well  as  imitate,  he  would 
rather  leave  some  permanent  work  and  not  an  imitation  only; 
he  would  rather  be  the  receiver  than  the  giver  of  praise  ?    '  Yes, 
for  then  he  would  have  more  honour  and  advantage.' 

Let  us  now  interrogate  Homer  and  the  poets.  Friend  Homer, 
say  I  to  him,  I  am  not  going  to  ask  you  about  medicine,  or  any 
art  to  which  your  poems  incidentally  refer,  but  about  their 
main  subjects— war,  military  tactics,  politics.  If  you  are  only 
twice  and  not  thrice  removed  from  the  truth— not  an  imitator 
or  an  image-maker,  please  to  inform  us  what  good  you  have  ever 
done  to  mankind  ?  Is  there  any  city  which  professes  to  have 
received  laws  from  you,  as  Sicily  and  Italy  have  from  Charondas, 

600  Sparta  from  Lycurgus,  Athens  from  Solon  ?    Or  was  any  war 
ever  carried  on  by  your  counsels  ?  or  is  any  invention  attributed 
to  you,  as  there  is  to  Thales  and  Anacharsis  ?    Or  is  there  any 


cxlviii  Analysis  600-602. 

Republic  Homeric  way  of  life,  such  as  the  Pythagorean  was,  in  which  you 
ANALYSIS  ^nstructe^  men,  and  which  is  called  after  you  ?  *  No,  indeed ; 
and  Creophylus  [Flesh-child]  was  even  more  unfortunate  in  his 
breeding  than  he  was  in  his  name,  if,  as  tradition  says,  Homer  in 
his  lifetime  was  allowed  by  him  and  his  other  friends  to  starve.' 
Yes,  but  could  this  ever  have  happened  if  Homer  had  really 
been  the  educator  of  Hellas?  Would  he  not  have  had  many 
devoted  followers?  If  Protagoras  and  Prodicus  can  persuade 
their  contemporaries  that  no  one  can  manage  house  or  State 
without  them,  is  it  likely  that  Homer  and  Hesiod  would  have 
been  allowed  to  go  about  as  beggars— I  mean  if  they  had  really 
been  able  to  do  the  world  any  good?— would  not  men  have 
compelled  them  to  stay  where  they  were,  or  have  followed 
them  about  in  order  to  get  education?  But  they  did  not;  and 
therefore  we  may  infer  that  Homer  and  all  the  poets  are  only 
imitators,  who  do  but  imitate  the  appearances  of  things.  For  60 1 
as  a  painter  by  a  knowledge  of  figure  and  colour  can  paint  a 
cobbler  without  any  practice  in  cobbling,  so  the  poet  can  de- 
lineate any  art  in  the  colours  of  language,  and  give  harmony  and 
rhythm  to  the  cobbler  and  also  to  the  general ;  and  you  know 
how  mere  narration,  when  deprived  of  the  ornaments  of  metre, 
is  like  a  face  which  has  lost  the  beauty  of  youth  and  never  had 
any  other.  Once  more,  the  imitator  has  no  knowledge  of  reality, 
but  only  of  appearance.  The  painter  paints,  and  the  artificer 
makes  a  bridle  and  reins,  but  neither  understands  the  use  of 
them — the  knowledge  of  this  is  confined  to  the  horseman ;  and 
so  of  other  things.  Thus  we  have  three  arts :  one  of  use,  an- 
other of  invention,  a  third  of  imitation ;  and  the  user  furnishes 
the  rule  to  the  two  others.  The  flute-player  will  know  the 
good  and  bad  flute,  and  the  maker  will  put  faith  in  him ;  but 
the  imitator  will  neither  know  nor  have  faith — neither  science  602 
nor  true  opinion  can  be  ascribed  to  him.  Imitation,  then,  is 
devoid  of  knowledge,  being  only  a  kind  of  play  or  sport,  and 
the  tragic  and  epic  poets  are  imitators  in  the  highest  degree. 

And  now  let  us  enquire,  what  is  the  faculty  in  man  which 
answers  to  imitation.  Allow  me  to  explain  my  meaning :  Ob- 
jects are  differently  seen  when  in  the  water  and  when  out  of 
the  water,  when  near  and  when  at  a  distance ;  and  the  painter 
or  juggler  makes  use  of  this  variation  to  impose  upon  us.  And 

Analysis  602-605.  cxlix 

the  art  of  measuring  and  weighing  and  calculating  comes  in  to    Republic 
save  our  bewildered  minds  from  the  power  of  appearance ;  for,          ' 

603  as  we  were   saying,  two  contrary  opinions  of  the  same  about 
the  same  and  at  the  same  time,  cannot  both  of  them  be  true. 
But  which  of  them  is  true  is  determined  by  the  art  of  calcula- 
tion ;    and  this  is  allied  to  the  better  faculty  in  the  soul,  as  the 
arts  of  imitation  are  to  the  worse.    And  the  same  holds  of  the 
ear  as  well  as  of  the  eye,  of  poetry  as  well  as  painting.    The 
imitation  is  of  actions  voluntary  or  involuntary,  in  which  there 
is  an  expectation  of  a  good  or  bad  result,  and  present  experience 
of  pleasure  and  pain.     But  is  a  man  in  harmony  with  himself 
when  he  is  the  subject  of  these  conflicting  influences  ?    Is  there 
not  rather  a  contradiction  in  him  ?    Let  me  further  ask,  whether 

604  he  is  more  likely  to  control  sorrow  when  he  is  alone  or  when 
he  is  in  company.    'In  the  latter  case.'     Feeling  would  lead 
him  to  indulge  his   sorrow,  but    reason  and    law  control    him 
and  enjoin  patience ;   since  he  cannot  know  whether  his  afflic- 
tion   is    good    or   evil,   and    no    human    thing   is  of  any  great 
consequence,  while    sorrow    is    certainly  a  hindrance    to    good 
counsel.     For  when  we  stumble,  we  should  not,  like  children, 
make  an  uproar;   we  should  take  the  measures  which  reason 
prescribes,  not  raising  a  lament,  but  finding  a  cure.    And  the 
better  part  of  us  is  ready  to  follow  reason,  while  the  irrational 
principle  is  full  of  sorrow  and  distraction  at  the  recollection  of 
our  troubles.    Unfortunately,  however,  this  latter  furnishes  the 
chief  materials  of  the  imitative  arts.     Whereas  reason  is  ever 
in  repose  and  cannot  easily  be  displayed,  especially  to  a  mixed 

'605  multitude  who  have  no  experience  of  her.  Thus  the  poet  is 
like  the  painter  in  two  ways :  first  he  paints  an  inferior  degree 
of  truth,  and  secondly,  he  is  concerned  with  an  inferior  part 
of  the  soul.  He  indulges  the  feelings,  while  he  enfeebles  the 
reason ;  and  we  refuse  to  allow  him  to  have  authority  over  the 
mind  of  man  ;  for  he  has  no  measure  of  greater  and  less,  and 
is  a  maker  of  images  and  very  far  gone  from  truth. 

But  we  have  not  yet  mentioned  the  heaviest  count  in  the 
indictment— the  power  which  poetry  has  of  injuriously  exciting 
the  feelings.  When  we  hear  some  passage  in  which  a  hero 
laments  his  sufferings  at  tedious  length,  you  know  that  we 
sympathize  with  him  and  praise  the  poet ;  and  yet  in  our  own 

cl  Analysis  605-608. 

Republic  sorrows  such  an  exhibition  of  feeling  is  regarded  as  effeminate 
ANALYSIS  and  unmanlv  (CP-  I°n>  535  E).  Now,  ought  a  man  to  feel  pleasure 
in  seeing  another  do  what  he  hates  and  abominates  in  himself? 
Is  he  not  giving  way  to  a  sentiment  which  in  his  own  case  he  606 
would  control? — he  is  off  his  guard  because  the  sorrow  is  an- 
other's ;  and  he  thinks  that  he  may  indulge  his  feelings  without 
disgrace,  and  will  be  the  gainer  by  the  pleasure.  But  the  in- 
evitable consequence  is  that  he  who  begins  by  weeping  at  the 
sorrows  of  others,  will  end  by  weeping  at  his  own.  The  same 
is  true  of  comedy, — you  may  often  laugh  at  buffoonery  which 
you  would  be  ashamed  to  utter,  and  the  love  of  coarse  merri- 
ment on  the  stage  will  at  last  turn  you  into  a  buffoon  at  home. 
Poetry  feeds  and  waters  the  passions  and  desires ;  she  lets 
them  rule  instead  of  ruling  them.  And  therefore,  when  we 
hear  the  encomiasts  of  Homer  affirming  that  he  is  the  educator 
of  Hellas,  and  that  all  life  should  be  regulated  by  his  precepts,  607 
we  may  allow  the  excellence  of  their  intentions,  and  agree  with 
them  in  thinking  Homer  a  great  poet  and  tragedian.  But  we 
shall  continue  to  prohibit  all  poetry  which  goes  beyond  hymns 
to  the  Gods  and  praises  of  famous  men.  Not  pleasure  and  pain, 
but  law  and  reason  shall  rule  in  our  State. 

These  are  our  grounds  for  expelling  poetry ;  but  lest  she 
should  charge  us  with  discourtesy,  let  us  also  make  an  apology 
to  her.  We  will  remind  her  that  there  is  an  ancient  quarrel 
between  poetry  and  philosophy,  of  which  there  are  many  traces 
in  the  writings  of  the  poets,  such  as  the  saying  of  '  the  she-dog, 
yelping  at  her  mistress,'  and  'the  philosophers  who  are  ready 
to  circumvent  Zeus,'  and  'the  philosophers  who  are  paupers.' 
Nevertheless  we  bear  her  no  ill-will,  and  will  gladly  allow  her  to 
return  upon  condition  that  she  makes  a  defence  of  herself  in 
verse ;  and  her  supporters  who  are  not  poets  may  speak  in  prose. 
We  confess  her  charms;  but  if  she  cannot  show  that  she  is 
useful  as  well  as  delightful,  like  rational  lovers,  we  must  re- 
nounce our  love,  though  endeared  to  us  by  early  associations. 
Having  come  to  years  of  discretion,  we  know  that  poetry  is  not  608 
truth,  and  that  a  man  should  be  careful  how  he  introduces  her 
to  that  state  or  constitution  which  he  himself  is ;  for  there  is  a 
mighty  issue  at  stake — no  less  than  the  good  or  evil  of  a  human 
soul.  And  it  is  not  worth  while  to  forsake  justice  and  virtue 

A  na lysis  608-611.  cl  L 

for  the  attractions  of  poetry,  any  more  than  for  the  sake  of  Republic 
honour  or  wealth.    'I  agree  with  you.'  AKALYSIS. 

And  yet  the  rewards  of  virtue  are  greater  far  than  I  have 
described.  '  And  can  we  conceive  things  greater  still  ? '  Not, 
perhaps,  in  this  brief  span  of  life :  but  should  an  immortal  being 
care  about  anything  short  of  eternity?  'I  do  not  understand 
what  you  mean  ? '  Do  you  not  know  that  the  soul  is  immortal  I 
1  Surely  you  are  not  prepared  to  prove  that  ?  *  Indeed  I  am, 
'  Then  let  me  hear  this  argument,  of  which  you  make  so  light* 

609  You  would  admit  that  everything  has  an  element  of  good  and 
of  evil     In  all  things  there  is  an  inherent  corruption ;  and  if  this 
cannot  destroy  them,  nothing  else  will.    The  soul  too  has  her 
own  corrupting  principles,  which  are    injustice,  intemperance, 
cowardice,  and  the  like.    But  none  of  these  destroy  the  soul  in 
the  same  sense  that  disease  destroys  the  body.    The  soul  may  be 
full  of  all  iniquities,  but  is  not,  by  reason  of  them,  brought  any 
nearer  to  death.    Nothing  which  was  not  destroyed  from  within 
ever  perished  by  external  affection  of  evil.    The  body,  which 

610  is  one  thing,  cannot  be  destroyed  by  food,  which  is  another, 
unless  the  badness  of  the  food  is  communicated  to  the  body. 
Neither  can  the  soul,  which  is  one  thing,  be  corrupted  by  the 
body,  which  is  another,  unless  she  herself  is  infected.     And 
as  no  bodily  evil  can  infect  the  soul,  neither  can  any  bodily 
evil,  whether  disease  or  violence,  or  any  other  destroy  the  soul, 
unless  it  can  be  shown  to  render  her  unholy  and  unjust.    But 
no  one  will  ever  prove  that  the  souls  of  men  become  more  un- 
just when  they  die.    If  a  person  has  the  audacity  to  say  the 
contrary,  the  answer  is — Then  why  do  criminals  require  the 
hand  of  the  executioner,  and  not  die  of  themselves?    'Truly/ 
he  said,  'injustice  would  not  be  very  terrible  if  it  brought  a 
cessation  of  evil ;    but  I  rather  believe  that  the  injustice  which 
murders  others  may  tend  to  quicken  and  stimulate  the  life  of  the 
unjust.'    You  are  quite  right.    If  sin  which  is  her  own  natural  and 
inherent  evil  cannot  destroy  the  soul,  hardly  will  anything  else 

6 1  I  destroy  her.  But  the  soul  which  cannot  be  destroyed  either  by 
internal  or  external  evil  must  be  immortal  and  everlasting.  And 
if  this  be  true,  souls  will  always  exist  in  the  same  number.  They 
cannot  diminish,  because  they  cannot  be  destroyed ;  nor  yet  in- 
crease, for  the  increase  of  the  immortal  must  come  from  some- 

clii  Analysis  611-614. 

Republic  thing  mortal,  and  so  all  would  end  in  immortality.  Neither  is 
ANAIYSIS.  the  soul  var^^e  anc*  diverse ;  for  that  which  is  immortal  must 
be  of  the  fairest  and  simplest  composition.  If  we  would  conceive 
her  truly,  and  so  behold  justice  and  injustice  in  their  own 
nature,  she  must  be  viewed  by  the  light  of  reason  pure  as  at 
birth,  or  as  she  is  reflected  in  philosophy  when  holding  con- 
verse with  the  divine  and  immortal  and  eternal.  In  her  present 
condition  we  see  her  only  like  the  sea-god  Glaucus,  bruised  and 
maimed  in  the  sea  which  is  the  world,  and  covered  with  shells  612 
and  stones  which  are  incrusted  upon  her  from  the  entertain- 
ments of  earth. 

Thus  far,  as  the  argument  required,  we  have  said  nothing  of 
the  rewards  and  honours  which  the  poets  attribute  to  justice ; 
we  have  contented  ourselves  with  showing  that  justice  in  her- 
self is  best  for  the  soul  in  herself,  even  if  a  man  should  put  on 
a  Gyges'  ring  and  have  the  helmet  of  Hades  too.  And  now 
you  shall  repay  me  what  you  borrowed ;  and  I  will  enumerate 
the  rewards  of  justice  in  life  and  after  death.  I  granted,  for 
the  sake  of  argument,  as  you  will  remember,  that  evil  might 
perhaps  escape  the  knowledge  of  Gods  and  men,  although  this 
was  really  impossible.  And  since  I  have  shown  that  justice 
has  reality,  you  must  grant  me  also  that  she  has  the  palm  of 
appearance.  In  the  first  place,  the  just  man  is  known  to  the 
Gods,  and  he  is  therefore  the  friend  of  the  Gods,  and  he  will  613 
receive  at  their  hands  every  good,  always  excepting  such  evil 
as  is  the  necessary  consequence  of  former  sins.  All  things  end 
in  good  to  him,  either  in  life  or  after  death,  even  what  appears 
to  be  evil ;  for  the  Gods  have  a  care  of  him  who  desires  to  be 
in  their  likeness.  And  what  shall  we  say  of  men  ?  Is  not 
honesty  the  best  policy  ?  The  clever  rogue  makes  a  great  start 
at  first,  but  breaks  down  before  he  reaches  the  goal,  and  slinks 
away  in  dishonour ;  whereas  the  true  runner  perseveres  to  the 
end,  and  receives  the  prize.  And  you  must  allow  me  to  repeat 
all  the  blessings  which  you  attributed  to  the  fortunate  unjust — 
they  bear  rule  in  the  city,  they  marry  and  give  in  marriage  to 
whom  they  will ;  and  the  evils  which  you  attributed  to  the  un- 
fortunate just,  do  really  fall  in  the  end  on  the  unjust,  although, 
as  you  implied,  their  sufferings  are  better  veiled  in  silence. 

But  all  the  blessings  of  this  present  life  are  as  nothing  when  614 

Analysis  614-616,  cliii 

compared  with  those  which  await  good  men  after  death.     'I    Republic 
should  like  to  hear  about  them.'    Come,  then,  and  I  will  tell  you 


the  story  of  Er,  the  son  of  Armenius,  a  valiant  man.  He  was 
supposed  to  have  died  in  battle,  but  ten  days  afterwards  his  body 
was  found  untouched  by  corruption  and  sent  home  for  burial. 
On  the  twelfth  day  he  was  placed  on  the  funeral  pyre  and  there 
he  came  to  life  again,  and  told  what  he  had  seen  in  the  world 
below.  He  said  that  his  soul  went  with  a  great  company  to  a 
place,  in  which  there  were  two  chasms  near  together  in  the  earth 
beneath,  and  two  corresponding  chasms  in  the  heaven  above. 
And  there  were  judges  sitting  in  the  intermediate  space,  bidding 
the  just  ascend  by  the  heavenly  way  on  the  right  hand,  having 
the  seal  of  their  judgment  set  upon  them  before,  while  the  unjust, 
having  the  seal  behind,  were  bidden  to  descend  by  the  way  on  the 
left  hand.  Him  they  told  to  look  and  listen,  as  he  was  to  be  their 
messenger  to  men  from  the  world  below.  And  he  beheld  and  saw 
the  souls  departing  after  judgment  at  either  chasm ;  some  who 
came  from  earth,  were  worn  and  travel-stained;  others,  who 
came  from  heaven,  were  clean  and  bright.  They  seemed  glad  to 
meet  and  rest  awhile  in  the  meadow  ;  here  they  discoursed  with 

615  one  another  of  what  they  had  seen  in  the  other  world.    Those 
who  came  from  earth  wept  at  the  remembrance  of  their  sorrows, 
but  the  spirits  from  above  spoke  of  glorious  sights  and  heavenly 
bliss.    He  said  that  for  every  evil  deed  they  were  punished  ten- 
fold— now  the  journey  was  of  a  thousand  years'  duration,  because 
the  life  of  man  was  reckoned  as  a  hundred  years— and  the  re- 
wards of  virtue  were  in  the  same  proportion.     He  added  some- 
thing hardly  worth  repeating  about  infants  dying  almost  as  soon 
as  they  were  born.    Of  parricides  and  other  murderers  he  had 
tortures  still  more  terrible  to  narrate.     He  was  present  when 
one  of  the  spirits  asked— Where  is  Ardiaeus  the  Great  ?    (This 
Ardiaeus  was  a  cruel  tyrant,  who  had  murdered  his  father,  and  his 
elder  brother,  a  thousand  years  before.)    Another  spirit  answered, 
'  He  comes  not  hither,  and  will  never  come.    And  I  myself,'  he 
added,  '  actually  saw  this  terrible  sight.    At  the  entrance  of  the 
chasm,  as  we  were  about  to  reascend,  Ardiaeus  appeared,  and 
some  other  sinners— most  of  whom  had  been  tyrants,  but  not  all— 
and  just  as  they  fancied  that  they  were  returning  to  life,  the  chasm 

616  gave  a  roar,  and  then  wild,  fiery-looking  men  who  knew  the 

cliv  Analysis  616,  617. 

Republic    meaning  of  the  sound,  seized  him  and  several  others,  and  bound 


.  them  hand  and  foot  and  threw  them  down,  and  dragged  them 


along  at  the  side  of  the  road,  lacerating  them  and  carding  them 
like  wool,  and  explaining  to  the  passers-by,  that  they  were  going 
to  be  cast  into  hell.'  The  greatest  terror  of  the  pilgrims  as- 
cending was  lest  they  should  hear  the  voice,  and  when  there 
was  silence  one  by  one  they  passed  up  with  joy.  To  these 
sufferings  there  were  corresponding  delights. 

On  the  eighth  day  the  souls  of  the  pilgrims  resumed  their 
journey,  and  in  four  days  came  to  a  spot  whence  they  looked 
down  upon  a  line  of  light,  in  colour  like  a  rainbow,  only  brighter 
and  clearer.  One  day  more  brought  them  to  the  place,  and  they 
saw  that  this  was  the  column  of  light  which  binds  together  the 
whole  universe.  The  ends  of  the  column  were  fastened  to  heaven, 
and  from  them  hung  the  distaff  of  Necessity,  on  which  all  the 
heavenly  bodies  turned — the  hook  and  spindle  were  of  adamant, 
and  the  whorl  of  a  mixed  substance.  The  whorl  was  in  form 
like  a  number  of  boxes  fitting  into  one  another  with  their  edges 
turned  upwards,  making  together  a  single  whorl  which  was 
pierced  by  the  spindle.  The  outermost  had  the  rim  broadest, 
and  the  inner  whorls  were  smaller  and  smaller,  and  had  their 
rims  narrower.  The  largest  (the  fixed  stars)  was  spangled — the 
seventh  (the  sun)  was  brightest — the  eighth  (the  moon)  shone  by 
the  light  of  the  seventh— the  second  and  fifth  (Saturn  and  Mercury)  617 
were  most  like  one  another  and  yellower  than  the  eighth — the 
third  (Jupiter)  had  the  whitest  light — the  fourth  (Mars)  was  red — 
the  sixth  (Venus)  was  in  whiteness  second.  The  whole  had  one 
motion,  but  while  this  was  revolving  in  one  direction  the  seven 
inner  circles  were  moving  in  the  opposite,  with  various  degrees 
of  swiftness  and  slowness.  The  spindle  turned  on  the  knees  of 
Necessity,  and  a  Siren  stood  hymning  upon  each  circle,  while 
Lachesis,  Clotho,  and  Atropos,  the  daughters  of  Necessity,  sat  on 
thrones  at  equal  intervals,  singing  of  past,  present,  and  future, 
responsive  to  the  music  of  the  Sirens  ;  Clotho  from  time  to  time 
guiding  the  outer  circle  with  a  touch  of  her  right  hand  ;  Atropos 
with  her  left  hand  touching  and  guiding  the  inner  circles ;  Lachesis 
in  turn  putting  forth  her  hand  from  time  to  time  to  guide  both  of 
them.  On  their  arrival  the  pilgrims  went  to  Lachesis,  and  there 
was  an  interpreter  who  arranged  them,  and  taking  from  her 

Analysis  617—619.  civ 

knees  lots,  and  samples  of  lives,  got  up  into  a  pulpit  and  said :    Republic 
'Mortal  souls,  hear  the  words  of  Lachesis,  the  daughter  of  Ne- 


cessity.     A  new  period  of  mortal  life  has  begun,  and  you  may 
choose  what  divinity  you  please ;  the  responsibility  of  choosing 

618  is  with  you — God  is  blameless.'    After  speaking  thus,  he  cast  the 
lots  among  them  and  each  one  took  up  the  lot  which  fell  near  him. 
He  then  placed  on  the  ground  before  them  the  samples  of  lives, 
many  more  than  the  souls  present ;  and  there  were  all  sorts  of  lives, 
of  men  and  of  animals.     There  were  tyrannies  ending  in  misery 
and  exile,  and  lives  of  men  and  women  famous  for  their  different 
qualities ;  and  also  mixed  lives,  made  up  of  wealth  and  poverty, 
sickness  and  health.    Here,  Glaucon,  is  the  great  risk  of  human 
life,  and  therefore  the  whole  of  education  should  be  directed  to 
the  acquisition  of  such  a  knowledge  as  will  teach  a  man  to  refuse 
the  evil  and  choose  the  good.    He  should  know  all  the  combina- 
tions which  occur  in  life — of  beauty  with  poverty  or  with  wealth, 
— of  knowledge  with  external  goods,— and  at  last  choose  with 
reference  to  the  nature  of  the  soul,  regarding  that  only  as  the 
better  life  which  makes  men  better,  and  leaving  the  rest.    And 

619  a  man  must  take  with  him  an  iron  sense  of  truth  and  right  into  the 
world  below,  that  there  too  he  may  remain  undazzled  by  wealth 
or  the  allurements  of  evil,  and  be  determined  to  avoid  the  extremes 
and  choose  the  mean.    For  this,  as  the  messenger  reported  the 
interpreter  to  have  said,  is  the  true  happiness  of  man. ;   and  any 
one,  as  he  proclaimed,  may,  if  he  choose  with  understanding,  have 
a  good  lot,  even  though   he  come  last.     'Let  not  the  first  be 
careless  in  his  choice,  nor  the  last  despair.'    He  spoke ;  and  when 
he  had  spoken,  he  who  had  drawn  the  first  lot  chose,  a  tyranny  : 
he  did  not  see  that  he  was  fated  to  devour  his  own  children — and 
when  he  discovered  his  mistake,  he  wept  and  beat  his  breast, 
blaming  chance  and  the  Gods  and  anybody  rather  than  himself. 
He  was  one  of  those  who  had  come  from  heaven,  and  in  his 
previous  life  had  been  a  citizen  of  a  well-ordered  State,  but  he 
had  only  habit  and  no  philosophy.     Like  many  another,  he  made 
a  bad  choice,  because  he  had  no  experience  of  life ;  whereas  those 
who  came  from  earth  and  had  seen  trouble  were  not  in  such  a 
hurry  to  choose.    But  if  a  man  had  followed  philosophy  while 
upon  earth,  and  had   been  moderately  fortunate  in   his  lot,  he 
might  not  only  be  happy  here,  but  his  pilgrimage  both  from  and 

clvi  Analysis  619-621. 

Republic  to  this  world  would  be  smooth  and  heavenly.  Nothing  was  more 
ANALYSIS.  cur*ous  than  the  sPectacle  of  the  choice,  at  once  sad  and  laughable 
and  wonderful ;  most  of  the  souls  only  seeking  to  avoid  their  own 
condition  in  a  previous  life.  He  saw  the  soul  of  Orpheus  changing  620 
into  a  swan  because  he  would  not  be  born  of  a  woman  ;  there  was 
Thamyras  becoming  a  nightingale ;  musical  birds,  like  the  swan, 
choosing  to  be  men ;  the  twentieth  soul,  which  was  that  of  Ajax, 
preferring  the  life  of  a  lion  to  that  of  a  man,  in  remembrance  of  the 
injustice  which  was  done  to  him  in  the  judgment  of  the  arms; 
and  Agamemnon,  from  a  like  enmity  to  human  nature,  passing 
into  an  eagle.  About  the  middle  was  the  soul  of  Atalanta  choosing 
the  honours  of  an  athlete,  and  next  to  her  Epeus  taking  the 
nature  of  a  workwoman ;  among  the  last  was  Thersites,  who  was 
changing  himself  into  a  monkey.  Thither,  the  last  of  all,  came 
Odysseus,  and  sought  the  lot  of  a  private  man,  which  lay  neglected 
and  despised,  and  when  he  found  it  he  went  away  rejoicing,  and 
said  that  if  he  had  been  first  instead  of  last,  his  choice  would  have 
been  the  same.  Men,  too,  were  seen  passing  into  animals,  and 
wild  and  tame  animals  changing  into  one  another. 

When  all  the  souls  had  chosen  they  went  to  Lachesis,  who  sent 
with  each  of  them  their  genius  or  attendant  to  fulfil  their  lot.  He 
first  of  all  brought  them  under  the  hand  of  Clotho,  and  drew  them 
within  the  revolution  of  the  spindle  impelled  by  her  hand ;  from 
her  they  were  carried  to  Atropos,  who  made  the  threads  irre- 
versible; whence,  without  turning  round,  they  passed  beneath  621 
the  throne  of  Necessity;  and  when  they  had  all  passed,  they 
moved  on  in  scorching  heat  to  the  plain  of  Forgetfulness  and 
rested  at  evening  by  the  river  Unmindful,  whose  water  could  not 
be  retained  in  any  vessel ;  of  this  they  had  all  to  drink  a  certain 
quantity — some  of  them  drank  more  than  was  required,  and  he 
who  drank  forgot  all  things.  Er  himself  was  prevented  from 
drinking.  When  they  had  gone  to  rest,  about  the  middle  of  the 
night  there  were  thunderstorms  and  earthquakes,  and  suddenly 
they  were  all  driven  divers  ways,  shooting  like  stars  to  their 
birth.  Concerning  his  return  to  the  body,  he  only  knew  that 
awaking  suddenly  in  the  morning  he  found  himself  lying  on  the 

Thus,  Glaucon,  the  tale  has  been  saved,  and  will  be  our  salvation, 
if  we  believe  that  the  soul  is  immortal,  and  hold  fast  to  the 

Why  was  Plato  the  enemy  of  the  poets  f  clvii 

heavenly  way  of  Justice  and  Knowledge.     So  shall  we  pass   Republic 
undefiled  over  the  river  of  Forgetfulness,  and  be  dear  to  ourselves    ANALySIS 
and  to  the  Gods,  and  have  a  crown  of  reward  and  happiness  both 
in  this  world  and  also  in  the  millennial  pilgrimage  of  the  other. 

The  Tenth  Book  of  the  Republic  of  Plato  falls  into  two  divisions :  INTRODUC- 
first,  resuming  an  old  thread  which  has  been  interrupted, 
Socrates  assails  the  poets,  who,  now  that  the  nature  of  the  soul 
has  been  analyzed,  are  seen  to  be  very  far  gone  from  the  truth ; 
and  secondly,  having  shown  the  reality  of  the  happiness  of  the 
just,  he  demands  that  appearance  shall  be  restored  to  him,  and 
then  proceeds  to  prove  the  immortality  of  the  soul.  The  argu- 
ment, as  in  the  Phaedo  and  Gorgias,  is  supplemented  by  the  vision 
of  a  future  life. 

Why  Plato,  who  was  himself  a  poet,  and  whose  dialogues  are 
poems  and  dramas,  should  have  been  hostile  to  the  poets  as  a 
class,  and  especially  to  the  dramatic  poets ;  why  he  should  not 
have  seen  that  truth  may  be  embodied  in  verse  as  well  as  in 
prose,  and  that  there  are  some  indefinable  lights  and  shadows 
of  human  life  which  can  only  be  expressed  in  poetry — some 
elements  of  imagination  which  always  entwine  with  reason  ;  why 
he  should  have  supposed  epic  verse  to  be  inseparably  associated 
with  the  impurities  of  the  old  Hellenic  mythology ;  why  he  should 
try  Homer  and  Hesiod  by  the  unfair  and  prosaic  test  of  utility, — • 
are  questions  which  have  always  been  debated  amongst  students 
of  Plato.  Though  unable  to  give  a  complete  answer  to  them,  we 
may  show— first,  that  his  views  arose  naturally  out  of  the  circum- 
stances of  his  age  ;  and  secondly,  we  may  elicit  the  truth  as  well  as 
the  error  which  is  contained  in  them. 

He  is  the  enemy  of  the  poets  because  poetry  was  declining  in 
his  own  lifetime,  and  a  theatrocracy,  as  he  says  in  the  Laws 
(iii.  701  A),  had  taken  the  place  of  an  intellectual  aristocracy. 
Euripides  exhibited  the  last  phase  of  the  tragic  drama,  and  in  him 
Plato  saw  the  friend  and  apologist  of  tyrants,  and  the  Sophist 
of  tragedy.  The  old  comedy  was  almost  extinct;  the  new  had 
not  yet  arisen.  Dramatic  and  lyric  poetry,  like  every  other 
branch  of  Greek  literature,  was  falling  under  the  power  of 
rhetoric.  There  was  no  *  second  or  third '  to  ^Eschylus  and 

clviii  Why  was  Plato  the  enemy  of  the  poets  f 

Republic  Sophocles  in  the  generation  which  followed  them.  Aristophanes, 
INTRODUC  *n  one  °^  n*s  ^ater  comedies  (Frogs,  89  foil.),  speaks  of  '  thousands 
TION.  of  tragedy-making  prattlers,'  whose  attempts  at  poetry  he  com- 
pares to  the  chirping  of  swallows;  'their  garrulity  went  far 
beyond  Euripides,' — 'they  appeared  once  upon  the  stage,  and 
there  was  an  end  of  them.'  To  a  man  of  genius  who  had  a  real 
appreciation  of  the  godlike  ^Eschylus  and  the  noble  and  gentle 
Sophocles,  though  disagreeing  with  some  parts  of  their  '  theology ' 
(Rep.  ii.  380),  these  '  minor  poets '  must  have  been  contemptible 
and  intolerable.  There  is  no  feeling  stronger  in  the  dialogues  of 
Plato  than  a  sense  of  the  decline  and  decay  both  in  literature  and 
in  politics  which  marked  his  own  age.  Nor  can  he  have  been 
expected  to  look  with  favour  on  the  licence  of  Aristophanes,  now 
at  the  end  of  his  career,  who  had  begun  by  satirizing  Socrates 
in  the  Clouds,  and  in  a  similar  spirit  forty  years  afterwards  had 
satirized  the  founders  of  ideal  commonwealths  in  his  Eccleziazusae, 
or  Female  Parliament  (cp.  x.  606  C,  and  Laws  ii.  658  ff. ;  817). 

There  were  other  reasons  for  the  antagonism  of  Plato  to  poetry. 
The  profession  of  an  actor  was  regarded  by  him  as  a  degradation 
of  human  nature,  for  'one  man  in  his  life'  cannot  'play  many 
parts ; '  the  characters  which  the  actor  performs  seem  to  destroy 
his  own  character,  and  to  leave  nothing  which  can  be  truly  called 
himself.  Neither  can  any  man  live  his  life  and  act  it.  The  actor 
is  the  slave  of  his  art,  not  the  master  of  it.  Taking  this  view 
Plato  is  more  decided  in  his  expulsion  of  the  dramatic  than  of  the 
epic  poets,  though  he  must  have  known  that  the  "Greek  tragedians 
afforded  noble  lessons  and  examples  of  virtue  and  patriotism,  to 
which  nothing  in  Homer  can  be  compared.  But  great  dramatic 
or  even  great  rhetorical  power  is  hardly  consistent  with  firmness 
or  strength  of  mind,  and  dramatic  talent  is  often  incidentally 
associated  with  a  weak  or  dissolute  character. 

In  the  Tenth  Book  Plato  introduces  a  new  series  of  objections. 
First,  he  says  that  the  poet  or  painter  is  an  imitator,  and  in 
the  third  degree  removed  from  the  truth.  His  creations  are 
not  tested  by  rule  and  measure ;  they  are  only  appearances. 
In  modern  times  we  should  say  that  art  is  not  merely  imita- 
tion, but  rather  the  expression  of  the  ideal  in  forms  of  sense. 
Even  adopting  the  humble  image  of  Plato,  from  which  his 
argument  derives  a  colour,  we  should  maintain  that  the  artist 

Why  was  Plato  the  enemy  of  the  poets  ?  clix 

may  ennoble  the  bed  which  he  paints  by  the  folds  of  the  drapery,    Republic 
or  by  the  feeling  of  home  which  he  introduces ;  and  there  have    T    X' 


been  modern  painters  who  have  imparted  such  an  ideal  in-  ™>N. 
terest  to  a  blacksmith's  or  a  carpenter's  shop.  The  eye  or  mind 
which  feels  as  well  as  sees  can  give  dignity  and  pathos  to  a 
ruined  mill,  or  a  straw-built  shed  [Rembrandt],  to  the  hull  of 
a  vessel  *  going  to  its  last  home '  [Turner].  Still  more  would 
this  apply  to  the  greatest  works  of  art,  which  seem  to  be  the 
visible  embodiment  of  the  divine.  Had  Plato  been  asked  whether 
the  Zeus  or  Athene  of  Pheidias  was  the  imitation  of  an  imitation 
only,  would  he  not  have  been  compelled  to  admit  that  something 
more  was  to  be  found  in  them  than  in  the  form  of  any  mortal ; 
and  that  the  rule  of  proportion  to  which  they  conformed  was 
1  higher  far  than  any  geometry  or  arithmetic  could  express  ? ' 
(Statesman,  257  A.) 

Again,  Plato  objects  to  the  imitative  arts  that  they  express 
the  emotional  rather  than  the  rational  part  of  human  nature. 
He  does  not  admit  Aristotle's  theory,  that  tragedy  or  other 
serious  imitations  are  a  purgation  of  the  passions  by  pity  and 
fear ;  to  him  they  appear  only  to  afford  the  opportunity  of  in- 
dulging them.  Yet  we  must  acknowledge  that  we  may  some- 
times cure  disordered  emotions  by  giving  expression  to  them; 
and  that  they  often  gain  strength  when  pent  up  within  our  own 
breast.  It  is  not  every  indulgence  of  the  feelings  which  is  to  be 
condemned.  For  there  may  be  a  gratification  of  the  higher  as  well 
as  of  the  lower — thoughts  which  are  too  deep  or  too  sad  to  be 
expressed  by  ourselves,  may  find  an  utterance  in  the  words  of 
poets.  Every  one  would  acknowledge  that  there  have  been 
times  when  they  were  consoled  and  elevated  by  beautiful  music  or 
by  the  sublimity  of  architecture  or  by  the  peacefulness  of  nature. 
Plato  has  himself  admitted,  in  the  earlier  part  of  the  Republic, 
that  the  arts  might  have  the  effect  of  harmonizing  as  well  as  of 
enervating  the  mind ;  but  in  the  Tenth  Book  he  regards  them 
through  a  Stoic  or  Puritan  medium.  He  asks  only  '  What  good 
have  they  done  ? '  and  is  not  satisfied  with  the  reply,  that '  They 
have  given  innocent  pleasure  to  mankind.' 

He  tells  us  that  he  rejoices  in  the  banishment  of  the  poets, 
since  he  has  found  by  the  analysis  of  the  soul  that  they  are 
concerned  with  the  inferior  faculties.  He  means  to  say  that 

clx  Why  was  Plato  the  enemy  of  the  poets  ? 

Republic   the  higher  faculties  have  to  do  with  universals,  the  lower  with 
,  particulars  of  sense.    The  poets  are  on  a  level  with  their  own 


TION.  age,  but  not  on  a  level  with  Socrates  and  Plato ;  and  he  was 
well  aware  that  Homer  and  Hesiod  could  not  be  made  a  rule 
of  life  by  any  process  of  legitimate  interpretation ;  his  ironical 
use  of  them  is  in  fact  a  denial  of  their  authority ;  he  saw,  too, 
that  the  poets  were  not  critics— as  he  says  in  the  Apology,  '  Any 
one  was  a  better  interpreter  of  their  writings  than  they  were 
themselves '  (22  C).  He  himself  ceased  to  be  a  poet  when  he 
became  a  disciple  of  Socrates ;  though,  as  he  tells  us  of  Solon, 
'he  might  have  been  one  of  the  greatest  of  them,  if  he  had 
not  been  deterred  by  other  pursuits '  (Tim.  21  C).  Thus  from 
many  points  of  view  there  is  an  antagonism  between  Plato  and 
the  poets,  which  was  foreshadowed  to  him  in  the  old  quarrel 
between  philosophy  and  poetry.  The  poets,  as  he  says  in  the 
Protagoras  (316  E),  were  the  Sophists  of  their  day ;  and  his 
dislike  of  the  one  class  is  reflected  on  the  other.  He  regards 
them  both  as  the  enemies  of  reasoning  and  abstraction,  though 
in  the  case  of  Euripides  more  with  reference  to  his  immoral 
sentiments  about  tyrants  and  the  like.  For  Plato  is  the  prophet 
who  'came  into  the  world  to  convince  men'— first  of  the  fallibility 
of  sense  and  opinion,  and  secondly  of  the  reality  of  abstract  ideas. 
Whatever  strangeness  there  may  be  in  modern  times  in  opposing 
philosophy  to  poetry,  which  to  us  seem  to  have  so  many  elements 
in  common,  the  strangeness  will  disappear  if  we  conceive  of 
poetry  as  allied  to  sense,  and  of  philosophy  as  equivalent  to 
thought  and  abstraction.  Unfortunately  the  very  word '  idea,'  which 
to  Plato  is  expressive  of  the  most  real  of  all  things,  is  associated 
in  our  minds  with  an  element  of  subjectiveness  and  unreality. 
We  may  note  also  how  he  differs  from  Aristotle  who  declares 
poetry  to  be  truer  than  history,  for  the  opposite  reason,  because 
it  is  concerned  with  universals,  not  like  history,  with  particulars 
(Poet.  c.  9,  3). 

The  things  which  are  seen  are  opposed  in  Scripture  to  the 
things  which  are  unseen — they  are  equally  opposed  in  Plato  to 
universals  and  ideas.  To  him  all  particulars  appear  to  be  floating 
about  in  a  world  of  sense;  they  have  a  taint  of  error  or  even  of 
evil.  There  is  no  difficulty  in  seeing  that  this  is  an  illusion ;  for 
there  is  no  more  error  or  variation  in  an  individual  man,  horse, 

Why  was  Plato  the  enemy  of  the  poets  ?  clxi 

bed,  etc.,  than  in  the  class  man,  horse,  bed,  etc. ;  nor  is  the  truth   Republic 
which  is  displayed  in  individual  instances  less  certain  than  that   INTRODITC. 
which  is  conveyed  through  the  medium  of  ideas.     But  Plato,       TION> 
who  is  deeply  impressed  with  the  real  importance  of  universals 
as  instruments  of  thought,  attributes  to  them  an  essential  truth 
which  is  imaginary  and  unreal;    for  universals  may  be  often 
false  and  particulars  true.     Had  he  attained  to  any  clear  con- 
ception of  the  individual,  which  is  the  synthesis  of  the  universal 
and  the  particular ;  or  had  he  been  able  to  distinguish  between 
opinion -and  sensation,  which  the  ambiguity  of  the  words  8o£a, 
4>atWdat,  fiKbs  and   the  like,  tended  to  confuse,  he  would  not 
have  denied  truth  to  the  particulars  of  sense. 

But  the  poets  are  also  the  representatives  of  falsehood  and 
feigning  in  all  departments  of  life  and  knowledge,  like  the  so- 
phists and  rhetoricians  of  the  Gorgias  and  Phaedrus;  they 
are  the  false  priests,  false  prophets,  lying  spirits,  enchanters 
of  the  world.  There  is  another  count  put  into  the  indictment 
against  them  by  Plato,  that  they  are  the  friends  of  the  tyrant, 
and  bask  in  the  sunshine  of  his  patronage.  Despotism  in  all 
ages  has  had  an  apparatus  of  false  ideas  and  false  teachers  at 
its  service— in  the  history  of  Modern  Europe  as  well  as  of 
Greece  and  Rome.  For  no  government  of  men  depends  solely 
upon  force;  without  some  corruption  of  literature  and  morals 
—some  appeal  to  the  imagination  of  the  masses — some  pretence 
to  the  favour  of  heaven — some  element  of  good  giving  power 
to  evil  (cp.  i.  352),  tyranny,  even  for  a  short  time,  cannot  be 
maintained.  The  Greek  tyrants  were  not  insensible  to  the 
importance  of  awakening  in  their  cause  a  Pseudo  -  Hellenic 
feeling;  they  were  proud  of  successes  at  the  Olympic  games; 
they  were  not  devoid  of  the  love  of  literature  and  art.  Plato 
is  thinking  in  the  first  instance  of  Greek  poets  who  had  graced 
the  courts  of  Dionysius  or  Archelaus  :  and  the  old  spirit  of 
freedom  is  roused  within  him  at  their  prostitution  of  the  Tragic 
Muse  in  the  praises  of  tyranny.  But  his  prophetic  eye  extends 
beyond  them  to  the  false  teachers  of  other  ages  who  are  the 
creatures  of  the  government  under  which  they  live.  He  com- 
pares the  corruption  of  his  contemporaries  with  the  idea  of  a 
perfect  society,  and  gathers  up  into  one  mass  of  evil  the  evils 
and  errors  of  mankind;  to  him  they  are  personified  in  the 


clxii  Why  was  Plato  the  enemy  of  the  poets  ? 

Republic   rhetoricians,  sophists,  poets,  rulers  who  deceive  and  govern  the 
r    x-        world. 

TION.         A  further  objection  which    Plato  makes  to  poetry  and    the 

imitative  arts  is  that  they  excite  the  emotions.  Here  the 
modern  reader  will  be  disposed  to  introduce  a  distinction  which 
appears  to  have  escaped  him.  For  the  emotions  are  neither 
bad  nor  good  in  themselves,  and  are  not  most  likely  to  be 
controlled  by  the  attempt  to  eradicate  them,  but  by  the  mode- 
rate indulgence  of  them.  And  the  vocation  of  art  is  to  present 
thought  in  the  form  of  feeling,  to  enlist  the  feelings  on  the  side 
of  reason,  to  inspire  even  for  a  moment  courage  or  resigna- 
tion ;  perhaps  to  suggest  a  sense  of  infinity  and  eternity  in  a 
way  which  mere  language  is  incapable  of  attaining.  True,  the 
same  power  which  in  the  purer  age  of  art  embodies  gods  and 
heroes  only,  may  be  made  to  express  the  voluptuous  image  of 
a  Corinthian  courtezan.  But  this  only  shows  that  art,  like  other 
outward  things,  may  be  turned  to  good  and  also  to  evil,  and 
is  not  more  closely  connected  with  the  higher  than  with  the 
lower  part  of  the  soul.  All  imitative  art  is  subject  to  certain 
limitations,  and  therefore  necessarily  partakes  of  the  nature 
of  a  compromise.  Something  of  ideal  truth  is  sacrificed  for 
the  sake  of  the  representation,  and  something  in  the  exactness 
of  the  representation  is  sacrificed  to  the  ideal.  Still,  works  of 
art  have  a  permanent  element;  they  idealize  and  detain  the 
passing  thought,  and  are  the  intermediates  between  sense  and 

In  the  present  stage  of  the  human  mind,  poetry  and  other 
forms  of  fiction  may  certainly  be  regarded  as  a  good.  But  we 
can  also  imagine  the  existence  of  an  age  in  which  a  severer 
conception  of  truth  has  either  banished  or  transformed  them. 
At  any  rate  we  .must  admit  that  they  hold  a  different  place  at 
different  periods  of  the  world's  history.  In  the  infancy  of  man- 
kind, poetry,  with  the  exception  of  proverbs,  is  the  whole  of 
literature,  and  the  only  instrument  of  intellectual  culture ;  in 
modern  times  she  is  the  shadow  or  echo  of  her  former  self, 
and  appears  to  have  a  precarious  existence.  Milton  in  his  day 
doubted  whether  an  epic  poem  was  any  longer  possible.  At 
the  same  time  we  must  remember,  that 'what  Plato  would 
have  called  the  charms  of  poetry  have  been  partly  transferred 

Why  was  Plato  the  enemy  of  the  poets  ?  clxiii 

to  prose ;  he  himself  (Statesman  304)  admits  rhetoric  to  be  the   Republic 
handmaiden  of  Politics,  and  proposes  to  find  in  the  strain  of  lNTROp. 
law  (Laws  vii.  811)  a  substitute  for  the  old  poets.    Among  our-       T10N- 
selves  the  creative  power  seems  often  to  be  growing  weaker, 
and  scientific  fact  to  be  more  engrossing  and  overpowering  to 
the  mind  than  formerly.    The  illusion  of  the  feelings  commonly 
called  love,  has  hitherto  been  the  inspiring  influence  of  modern 
poetry  and  romance,  and  has  exercised  a  humanizing  if  not  a 
strengthening  influence  on  the  world.    But  may  not  the  stimulus 
which  love  has  given  to  fancy  be  some  day  exhausted?     The 
modern  English  novel  which  is  the  most  popular  of  all  forms 
of  reading  is  not  more  than  a  century  or  two  old:  will  the 
tale  of  love  a  hundred  years  hence,  after  so  many  thousand 
variations  of  the  same  theme,  be  still  received  with  unabated 
interest  ? 

Art  cannot  claim  to  be  on  a  level  with  philosophy  or  religion, 
and  may  often  corrupt  them.  It  is  possible  to  conceive  a  mental 
state  in  which  all  artistic  representations  are  regarded  as  a  false 
and  imperfect  expression,  either  of  the  religious  ideal  or  of 
the  philosophical  ideal.  The  fairest  forms  may  be  revolting  in 
certain  moods  of  mind,  as  is  proved  by  the  fact  that  the  Maho- 
metans, and  many  sects  of  Christians,  have  renounced  the  use 
of  pictures  and  images.  The  beginning  of  a  great  religion, 
whether  Christian  or  Gentile,  has  not  been  'wood  or  stone,' 
but  a  spirit  moving  in  the  hearts  of  men.  The  disciples  have 
met  in  a  large  upper  room  or  in  '  holes  and  caves  of  the  earth  ' ; 
in  the  second  or  third  generation,  they  have  had  mosques, 
temples,  churches,  monasteries.  And  the  revival  or  reform 
of  religions,  like  the  first  revelation  of  them,  has  come  from 
within  and  has  generally  disregarded  external  ceremonies  and 

But  poetry  and  art  may  also  be  the  expression  of  the  highest 
truth  and  the  purest  sentiment.  Plato  himself  seems  to  waver 
between  two  opposite  views— when,  as  in  the  third  Book,  he  in- 
sists that  youth  should  be  brought  up  amid  wholesome  imagery ; 
and  again  in  Book  x,  when  he  banishes  the  poets  from  his  Re- 
public. Admitting  that  the  arts,  which  some  of  us  almost  deify, 
have  fallen  short  of  their  higher  aim,  we  must  admit  on  the 
other  hand  that  to  banish  imagination  wholly  would  be  suicidal 

m  2 

clxiv  Why  was  Plato  the  enemy  of  the  poets  ? 

Republic  as  well  as  impossible.  For  nature  too  is  a  form  of  art ;  and  a 
Breath  °^  tne  fresh  air  or  a  single  glance  at  the  varying  land- 
scape  would  in  an  instant  revive  and  reillumine  the  extin- 
guished spark  of  poetry  in  the  human  breast.  In  the  lower 
stages  of  civilization  imagination  more  than  reason  distinguishes 
man  from  the  animals ;  and  to  banish  art  would  be  to  banish 
thought,  to  banish  language,  to  banish  the  expression  of  all 
truth.  No  religion  is  wholly  devoid  of  external  forms;  even 
the  Mahometan  who  renounces  the  use  of  pictures  and  images 
has  a  temple  in  which  he  worships  the  Most  High,  as  solemn 
and  beautiful  as  any  Greek  or  Christian  building.  Feeling  too 
and  thought  are  not  really  opposed ;  for  he  who  thinks  must 
feel  before  he  can  execute.  And  the  highest  thoughts,  when 
they  become  familiarized  to  us,  are  always  tending  to  pass  into 
the  form  of  feeling. 

Plato  does  not  seriously  intend  to  expel  poets  from  life  and 
society.  But  he  feels  strongly  the  unreality  of  their  writings ;  he 
is  protesting  against  the  degeneracy  of  poetry  in  his  own  day  as 
we  might  protest  against  the  want  of  serious  purpose  in  modern 
fiction,  against  the  unseemliness  or  extravagance  of  some  of  our 
poets  or  novelists,  against  the  time-serving  of  preachers  or  public 
writers,  against  the  regardlessness  of  truth  which  to  the  eye  of 
the  philosopher  seems  to  characterize  the  greater  part  of  the 
world.  For  we  too  have  reason  to  complain  that  our  poets  and 
novelists  'paint  inferior  truth'  and  'are  concerned  with  the 
inferior  part  of  the  soul';  that  the  readers  of  them  become 
what  they  read  and  are  injuriously  affected  by  them.  And  we 
look  in  vain  for  that  healthy  atmosphere  of  which  Plato  speaks, — 
*  the  beauty  which  meets  the  sense  like  a  breeze  and  imperceptibly 
draws  the  soul,  €ven  in  childhood,  into  harmony  with  the  beauty 
of  reason.' 

For  there  might  be  a  poetry  which  would  be  the  hymn  of 
divine  perfection,  the  harmony  of  goodness  and  truth  among 
men :  a  strain  which  should  renew  the  youth  of  the  world,  and  bring 
back  the  ages  in  which  the  poet  was  man's  only  teacher  and  best 
friend, — which  would  find  materials  in  the  living  present  as  well 
as  in  the  romance  of  the  past,  and  might  subdue  to  the  fairest 
forms  of  speech  and  verse  the  intractable  materials  of  modern 
civilization, — which  might  elicit  the  simple  principles,  or,  as  Plato 

Why  was  Plato  the  enemy  of  the  poets  f  clxv 

would  have  called  them,  the  essential  forms,  of  truth  and  justice  Republic 
out  of  the  variety  of  opinion  and  the  complexity  of  modern 
society, — which  would  preserve  all  the  good  of  each  generation 
and  leave  the  bad  unsung, — which  should  be  based  not  on  vain 
longings  or  faint  imaginings,  but  on  a  clear  insight  into  the 
nature  of  man.  Then  the  tale  of  love  might  begin  again  in 
poetry  or  prose,  two  in  one,  united  in  the  pursuit  of  knowledge, 
or  the  service  of  God  and  man ;  and  feelings  of  love  might  still 
be  the  incentive  to  great  thoughts  and  heroic  deeds  as  in  the 
days  of  Dante  or  Petrarch  ;  and  many  types  of  manly  and 
womanly  beauty  might  appear  among  us,  rising  above  the  or- 
dinary level  of  humanity,  and  many  lives  which  were  like  poems 
(Laws  vii.  817  B),  be  not  only  written,  but  lived  by  us.  A 
few  such  strains  have  been  heard  among  men  in  the  tragedies 
of  ^Eschylus  and  Sophocles,  whom  Plato  quotes,  not,  as  Homer 
is  quoted  by  him,  in  irony,  but  with  deep  and  serious  approval, — 
in  the  poetry  of  Milton  and  Wordsworth,  and  in  passages  of 
other  English  poets, — first  and  above  all  in  the  Hebrew  prophets 
and  psalmists.  Shakespeare  has  taught  us  how  great  men 
should  speak  and  act ;  he  has  drawn  characters  of  a  wonderful 
purity  and  depth ;  he  has  ennobled  the  human  mind,  but,  like 
Homer  (Rep.  x.  599  foil.),  he  '  has  left  no  way  of  life.'  The  next 
greatest  poet  of  modern  times,  Goethe,  is  concerned  with  'a 
lower  degree  of  truth' ;  he  paints  the  world  as  a  stage  on  which 
'  all  the  men  and  women  are  merely  players ' ;  he  cultivates 
life  as  an  art,  but  he  furnishes  no  ideals  of  truth  and  action.  The 
poet  may  rebel  against  any  attempt  to  set  limits  to  his  fancy; 
and  he  may  argue  truly  that  moralizing  in  verse  is  not  poetry. 
Possibly,  like  Mephistopheles  in  Faust,  he  may  retaliate  on. 
his  adversaries.  But  the  philosopher  will  still  be  justified  in 
asking,  '  How  may  the  heavenly  gift  of  poesy  be  devoted  to 
the  good  of  mankind  ? ' 

Returning  to  Plato,  we  may  observe  that  a  similar  mixture 
of  truth  and  error  appears  in  other  parts  of  the  argument.  He 
is  aware  of  the  absurdity  of  mankind  framing  their  whole  lives 
according  to  Homer;  just  as  in  the  Phaedrus  he  intimates  the 
absurdity  of  interpreting  mythology  upon  rational  principles; 
both  these  were  the  modern  tendencies  of  his  own  age,  which 
he  deservedly  ridicules.  On  the  other  hand,  his  argument  that 

clxvi  The  argument  for  immortality. 

Republic    Homer,  if  he  had  been  able  to  teach  mankind  anything  worth 

INTRODUO   knowing,  would  not  have  been  allowed  by  them  to  go  about 

TION.       begging  as  a  rhapsodist,  is  both  false  and  contrary  to  the  spirit 

of  Plato  (cp.  Rep.  vi.  489  A  foil.).    It  may  be  compared  with 

those  other  paradoxes  of  the  Gorgias,  that  *  No  statesman  was 

ever  unjustly  put  to  death  by  the  city  of  which  he  was  the 

head ' ;  and  that  '  No  Sophist  was  ever  defrauded  by  his  pupils ' 

(Gorg.  519  foil.) 

The  argument  for  immortality  seems  to  rest  on  the  absolute 
dualism  of  soul  and  body.  Admitting  the  existence  of  the  soul, 
we  know  of  no  force  which  is  able  to  put  an  end  to  her.  Vice 
is  her  own  proper  evil;  and  if  she  cannot  be  destroyed  by 
that,  she  cannot  be  destroyed  by  any  other.  Yet  Plato  has 
acknowledged  that  the  soul  may  be  so  overgrown  by  the  in- 
crustations of  earth  as  to  lose  her  original  form;  and  in  the 
Timaeus  he  recognizes  more  strongly  than  in  the  Republic 
the  influence  which  the  body  has  over  the  mind,  denying  even 
the  voluntariness  of  human  actions,  on  the  ground  that  they 
proceed  from  physical  states  (Tim.  86,  87).  In  the  Republic,  as 
elsewhere,  he  wavers  between  the  original  soul  which  has  to 
be  restored,  and  the  character  which  is  developed  by  training 

and  education 

The  vision  of  another  world  is  ascribed  to  Er,  the  son  of  Arme- 
nius,  who  is  said  by  Clement  of  Alexandria  to  have  been 
Zoroaster.  The  tale  has  certainly  an  oriental  character,  and 
may  be  compared  with  the  pilgrimages  of  the  soul  in  the  Zend 
Avesta  (cp.  Haug,  Avesta,  p.  197).  But  no  trace  of  acquaintance 
with  Zoroaster  is  found  elsewhere  in  Plato's  writings,  and  there 
is  no  reason  for  giving  him  the  name  of  Er  the  Pamphylian. 
The  philosophy  of  Heracleitus  cannot  be  shown  to  be  borrowed 
from  Zoroaster,  and  still  less  the  myths  of  Plato. 

The  local  arrangement  of  the  vision  is  less  distinct  than  that 
of  the  Phaedrus  and  Phaedo.  Astronomy  is  mingled  with  sym- 
bolism and  mythology ;  the  great  sphere  of  heaven  is  represented 
under  the  symbol  of  a  cylinder  or  box,  containing  the  seven  or- 
bits of  the  planets  and  the  fixed  stars ;  this  is  suspended  from 
an  axis  or  spindle  which  turns  on  the  knees  of  Necessity ;  the 
revolutions  of  the  seven  orbits  contained  in  the  cylinder  are 
guided  by  the  fates,  and  their  harmonious  motion  produces 

The  description  of  the  heavens.  clxvii 

the  music  of  the  spheres.  Through  the  innermost  or  eighth  Republic 
.of  these,  which  is  the  moon,  is  passed  the  spindle;  but  it  is  lNTROpUC 
doubtful  whether  this  is  the  continuation  of  the  column  of  light,  TION- 
from  which  the  pilgrims  contemplate  the  heavens;  the  words 
of  Plato  imply  that  they  are  connected,  but  not  the  same.  The 
column  itself  is  clearly  not  of  adamant.  The  spindle  (which 
is  of  adamant)  is  fastened  to  the  ends  of  the  chains  which  ex- 
tend to  the  middle  of  the  column  of  light — this  column  is  said 
to  hold  together  the  heaven;  but  whether  it  hangs  from  the 
spindle,  or  is  at  right  angles  to  it,  is  not  explained.  The  cylinder 
containing  the  orbits  «of  the  stars  is  almost  as  much  a  symbol 
as  the  figure  of  Necessity  turning  the  spindle; — for  the  outer- 
most rim  is  the  sphere  of  the  fixed  stars,  and  nothing  is  said 
about  the  intervals  of  space  which  divide  the  paths  of  the 
stars  in  the  heavens.  The  description  is  both  a  picture  and 
an  orrery,  and  therefore  is  necessarily  inconsistent  with  itself. 
The  column  of  light  is  not  the  Milky  Way — which  is  neither 
straight,  nor  like  a  rainbow — but  the  imaginary  axis  of  the  earth. 
This  is  compared  to  the  rainbow  in  respect  not  of  form  but 
of  colour,  and  not  to  the  undergirders  of  a  trireme,  but  to  the 
straight  rope  running  from  prow  to  stern  in  which  the  under- 
girders  meet. 

The  orrery  or  picture  of  the  heavens  given  in  the  Republic 
differs  in  its  mode  of  representation  from  the  circles  of  the 
same  and  of  the  other  in  the  Timaeus.  In  both  the  fixed  stars 
are  distinguished  •  from  the  planets,  and  they  move  in  orbits 
without  them,  although  in  an  opposite  direction :  in  the  Re- 
public as  in  the  Timaeus  (40  B)  they  are  all  moving  round  the 
axis  of  the  world.  But  we  are  not  certain  that  in  the  former 
they  are  moving  round  the  earth.  No  distinct  mention  is  made 
in  the  Republic  of  the  circles  of  the  same  and  other ;  although 
both  in  the  Timaeus  and  in  the  Republic  the  motion  of  the 
fixed  stars  is  supposed  to  coincide  with  the  motion  of  the  whole. 
The  relative  thickness  of  the  rims  is  perhaps  designed  to  ex- 
press the  relative  distances  of  the  planets.*-  Plato  probably 
intended  to  represent  the  earth,  from  which  Er  and  his  com- 
panions are  viewing  the  heavens,  as  stationary  in  place ;  but 
whether  or  not  herself  revolving,  unless  this  is  implied  in  the 
revolution  of  the  axis,  is  uncertain  (cp.  Timaeus).  The  spectator 

clxviii  t  The  choice  of  the  lots. 

Republic   may  be  supposed  to  look  at  the  heavenly  bodies,  either  from 
INTRODUC-   above  or  below.    The  earth  is  a  sort  of  earth   and  heaven  in 

On6)  iike  tne  heaven  of  the  Phaedrus,  on  the  back  of  which 
the  spectator  goes  out  to  take  a  peep  at  the  stars  and  is  borne 
round  in  the  revolution.  There  is  no  distinction  between  the 
equator  and  the  ecliptic.  But  Plato  is  no  doubt  led  to  imagine 
that  the  planets  have  an  opposite  motion  to  that*  of  the  fixed 
stars,  in  order  to  account  for  their  appearances  in  the  heavens. 
In  the  description  of  the  meadow,  and  the  retribution  of  the 
good  and  evil  after  death,  there  are  traces  of  Homer. 

The  description  of  the  axis  as  a  spindle,  and  of  the  heavenly 
bodies  as  forming  a  whole,  partly  arises  out  of  the  attempt  to 
connect  the  motions  of  the  heavenly  bodies  with  the  mytho- 
logical image  of  the  web,  or  weaving  of  the  Fates.  The  giving 
of  the  lots,  the  weaving  of  them,  and  the  making  of  them  irrever- 
sible, which  are  ascribed  to  the  three  Fates—  Lachesis,  Clotho, 
Atropos,  are  obviously  derived  from  their  names.  The  element 
of  chance  in  human  life  is  indicated  by  the  order  of  the  lots. 
But  chance,  however  adverse,  may  be  overcome  by  the  wisdom 
of  man,  if  he  knows  how  to  choose  aright;  there  is  a  worse 
enemy  to  man  than  chance;  this  enemy  is  himself.  He  who 
was  moderately  fortunate  in  the  number  of  the  lot  —  even  the 
very  last  comer—  might  have  a  good  life  if  he  chose  with  wisdom. 
And  as  Plato  does  not  like  to  make  an  assertion  which  is  un- 
proven,  he  more  than  confirms  this  statement  a  few  sentences 
afterwards  by  the  example  of  Odysseus,  who  chose  last.  But 
the  virtue  which  is  founded  on  habit  is  not  sufficient  to  enable 
a  man  to  choose  ;  he  must  add  to  virtue  knowledge,  if  he  is  to 
act  rightly  when  placed  in  new  circumstances.  The  routine 
of  good  actions  and  good  habits  is  an  inferior  sort  of  goodness  ; 
and,  as  Coleridge  says,  'Common  sense  is  intolerable  which  is 
not  based  on  metaphysics/  so  Plato  would  have  said,  'Habit  is 
•worthless  which  is  not  based  upon  philosophy.' 

The  freedom  of  the  will  to  refuse  the  evil  and  to  choose  the 
good  is  distinctly  Asserted.  '  Virtue  is  free,  and  as  a  man  honours 
or  dishonours  her  he  will  have  more  or  less  of  her.'  The  life 
of  man  is  '  rounded  '  by  necessity  ;  there  are  circumstances  prior 
to  birth  which  affect  him  (cp.  Pol.  273  B).  But  within  the  walls  of 
necessity  there  is  an  open  space  in  which  he  is  his  own  master, 

The  credibility  of  the  visions.  clxix 

and  can  study  for  himself  the  effects  which  the  variously  com-    Republic 
pounded  gifts  of  nature  or  fortune  have  upon  the  soul,  and  act    INTRODUC. 
accordingly.    All  men  cannot  have  the  first  choice  in  everything.       TION- 
But  the  lot  of  all  men  is  good  enough,  if  they  choose  wisely  and 
will  live  diligently. 

The  verisimilitude  which  is  given  to  the  pilgrimage  of  a 
thousand  years,  by  the  intimation  that  Ardiaeus  had  lived  a 
thousand  years  before ;  the  coincidence  of  Er  coming  to  life 
on  the  twelfth  day  after  he  was  supposed  to  have  been  dead 
with  the  seven  days  which  the  pilgrims  passed  in  the  meadow, 
and  the  four  days  during  which  they  journeyed  to  the  column 
of  light ;  the  precision  with  which  the  soul  is  mentioned  who 
chose  the  twentieth  lot ;  the  passing  remarks  that  there  was 
no  definite  character  among  the  souls,  and  that  the  souls  which 
had  chosen  ill  blamed  any  one  rather  than  themselves ;  or  that 
some  of  the  souls  drank  more  than  was  necessary  of  the  waters 
of  Forgetfulness,  while  Er  himself  was  hindered  from  drinking ; 
the  desire  of  Odysseus  to  rest  at  last,  unlike  the  conception  of 
him  in  Dante  and  Tennyson ;  the  feigned  ignorance  of  how  Er 
returned  to  the  body,  when  the  other  souls  went  shooting  like 
stars  to  their  birth, — add  greatly  to  the  probability  of  the  narra- 
tive. They  are  such  touches  of  nature  as  the  art  of  Defoe  might 
have  introduced  when  he  wished  to  win  credibility  for  marvels 
and  apparitions. 

There  still  remain  to  be  considered  some  points  which  have 
been  intentionally  reserved  to  the  end :  (I)  the  Janus-like 
character  of  the  Republic,  which  presents  two  faces— one  an 
Hellenic  state,  the  other  a  kingdom  of  philosophers.  Connected 
with  the  latter  of  the  two  aspects  are  (II)  the  paradoxes  of  the 
Republic,  as  they  have  been  termed  by  Morgenstern:  (a)  the 
community  of  property ;  (£)  of  families ;  (y)  the  rule  of  philo- 
sophers ;  (8)  the  analogy  of  the  individual  and  the  State,  which, 
like  some  other  analogies  in  the  Republic,  is  carried  too  far. 
We  may  then  proceed  to  consider  (III)  the  subject  of  educa- 
tion as  conceived  by  Plato,  bringing  together  in  a  general 
view  the  education  of  youth  and  the  education  of  after-life ; 
(IV)  we  may  note  further  some  essential  differences  between 
ancient  and  modern  politics  which  are  suggested  by  the  Republic ; 

clxx  Spartan  features  of  the  Republic. 

IKTRODUO-  (V)  we  may  compare  the  Politicus  and  the  Laws ;  (VI)  we  may 
observe  the  influence  exercised  by  Plato  on  his  imitators ;  and 
(VII)  take  occasion  to  consider  the  nature  and  value  of  political, 
and  (VIII)  of  religious  ideals. 

I.  Plato  expressly  says  that  he  is  intending  to  found  an  Hellenic 
State  (Book  v.  470  E).  Many  of  his  regulations  are  character- 
istically Spartan ;  such  as  the  prohibition  of  gold  and  silver,  the 
common  meals  of  the  men,  the  military  training  of  the  youth, 
the  gymnastic  exercises  of  the  women.  The  life  of  Sparta  was 
the  life  of  a  camp  (Laws  ii.  666  E),  enforced  even  more  rigidly  in 
time  of  peace  than  in  war;  the  citizens  of  Sparta,  like  Plato's, 
were  forbidden  to  trade— they  were  to  be  soldiers  and  not  shop- 
keepers. Nowhere  else  in  Greece  was  the  individual  so  com- 
pletely subjected  to  the  State ;  the  time  when  he  was  to  marry, 
the  education  of  his  children,  the  clothes  which  he  was  to  wear, 
the  food  which  he  was  to  eat,  were  all  prescribed  by  law.  Some 
of  the  best  enactments  in  the  Republic,  such  as  the  reverence 
to  be  paid  to  parents  and  elders,  and  some  of  the  worst,  such 
as  the  exposure  of  deformed  children,  are  borrowed  from  the 
practice  of  Sparta.  The  encouragement  of  friendships  between 
men  and  youths,  or  of  men  with  one  another,  as  affording  in- 
centives to  bravery,  is  also  Spartan ;  in  Sparta  too  a  nearer 
approach  was  made  than  in  any  other  Greek  State  to  equality  of 
the  sexes,  and  to  community  of  property ;  and  while  there  was 
probably  less  of  licentiousness  in  the  sense  of  immorality,  the 
tie  of  marriage  was  regarded  more  lightly  than  in  the  rest  of 
Greece.  The  *  suprema  lex '  was  the  preservation  of  the  family, 
and  the  interest  of  the  State.  The  coarse  strength  of  a  military 
government  was  not  favourable  to  purity  and  refinement;  and 
the  excessive  strictness  of  some  regulations  seems  to  have  pro- 
duced a  reaction.  Of  all  Hellenes  the  Spartans  were  most  acces- 
sible to  bribery  ;  several  of  the  greatest  of  them  might  be 
.  described  in  the  words  of  Plato  as  having  a  '  fierce  secret  longing 
after  gold  and  silver.*  Though  not  in  the  strict  sense  com- 
munists, the  principle  of  communism  was  maintained  among 
them  in  their  division  of  lands,  in  their  common  meals,  in  their 
slaves,  and  in  the  free  use  of  one  another's  goods.  Marriage  was 
a  public  institution :  and  the  women  were  educated  by  the  State, 
and  sang  and  danced  in  public  with  the  men. 

Spartan  features  of  the  Republic.  clxxi 

Many  traditions  were  preserved  at  Sparta  of  the  severity  with  INTRODUC- 
which  the  magistrates  had  maintained  the  primitive  rule  of  music 
and  poetry;  as  in  the  Republic  of  Plato,  the  new-fangled  poet 
was  to  be  expelled.  Hymns  to  the  Gods,  which  are  the  only 
kind  of  music  admitted  into  the  ideal  State,  were  the  only  kind 
which  was  permitted  at  Sparta.  The  Spartans,  though  an  un- 
poetical  race,  were  nevertheless  lovers  of  poetry  ;  they  had  been 
stirred  by  the  Elegiac  strains  of  Tyrtaeus,  they  had  crowded 
around  Hippias  to  hear  his  recitals  of  Homer ;  but  in  this  they 
resembled  the  citizens  of  the  timocratic  rather  than  of  the  ideal 
State  (548  E).  The  council  of  elder  men  also  corresponds  to  the 
Spartan  gerousia ;  and  the  freedom  with  which  they  are  per- 
mitted to  judge  about  matters  of  detail  agrees  with  what  we  are 
told  of  that  institution.  Once  more,  the  military  rule  of  not 
spoiling  the  dead  or  offering  arms  at  the  temples ;  the  modera- 
tion in  the  pursuit  of  enemies  ;  the  importance  attached  to  the 
physical  well-being  of  the  citizens ;  the  use  of  warfare  for  the 
sake  of  defence  rather  than  of  aggression— are  features  probably 
suggested  by  the  spirit  and  practice  of  Sparta. 

To  the  Spartan  type  the  ideal  State  reverts  in  the  first  decline  ; 
and  the  character  of  the  individual  timocrat  is  borrowed  from  the 
Spartan  citizen.  The  love  of  Lacedaemon  not  only  affected 
Plato  and  Xenophon,  but  was  shared  by  many  undistinguished 
Athenians ;  there  they  seemed  to  find  a  principle  which  was 
wanting  in  their  own  democracy.  The  cuKorr/u'a  of  the  Spartans  at- 
tracted them,  that  is  to  say,  not  the  goodness  of  their  laws,  but 
the  spirit  of  order  and  loyalty  which  prevailed.  Fascinated  by  the 
idea,  citizens  of  Athens  would  imitate  the  Lacedaemonians  in  their 
dress  and  manners ;  they  were  known  to  the  contemporaries  ^ 
of  Plato  as  'the  persons  who  had  their  ears  bruised,'  like  the 
Roundheads  of  the  Commonwealth.  The  love  of  another  church 
or  country  when  seen  at  a  distance  only,  the  longing  for  an 
imaginary  simplicity  in  civilized  times,  the  fond  desire  of  a  past 
which  never  has  been,  or  of  a  future  which  never  will  be, — these 
are  aspirations  of  the  human  mind  which  are  often  felt  among 
ourselves.  Such  feelings  meet  with  a  response  in  the  Republic 
of  Plato. 

But  there  are  other  features  of  the  Platonic  Republic,  as,  for 
example,  the  literary  and  philosophical  education,  and  the  grace 

clxxii  Hellenic  feeling  in  Plato. 

INTRODUC-  and  beauty  of  life,  which  are  the  reverse  of  Spartan.  Plato 
wishes  to  give  his  citizens  a  taste  of  Athenian  freedom  as  well 
as  of  Lacedaemonian  discipline.  His  individual  genius  is  purely 
Athenian,  although  in  theory  he  is  a  lover  of  Sparta;  and  he 
is  something  more  than  either — he  has  also  a  true  Hellenic 
feeling.  He  is  desirous  of  humanizing  the  wars  of  Hellenes 
against  one  another;  he  acknowledges  that  the  Delphian  God 
is  the  grand  hereditary  interpreter  of  all  Hellas.  The  spirit  of 
harmony  and  the  Dorian  mode  are  to  prevail,  and  the  whole 
State  is  to  have  an  external  beauty  which  is  the  reflex  of  the 
harmony  within.  But  he  has  not  yet  found  out  the  truth  which 
he  afterwards  enunciated  in  the  Laws  (i.  628  D)— that  he  was  a 
better  legislator  who  made  men  to  be  of  one  mind,  than  he  who 
trained  them  for  war.  The  citizens,  as  in  other  Hellenic  States, 
democratic  as  well  as  aristocratic,  are  really  an  upper  class; 
for,  although  no  mention  is  made  of  slaves,  the  lower  classes 
are  allowed  to  fade  away  into  the  distance,  and  are  represented 
in  the  individual  by  the  passions.  Plato  has  no  idea  either  of 
a  social  State  in  which  all  classes  are  harmonized,  or  of  a  federa- 
tion of  Hellas  or  the  world  in  which  different  nations  or  States 
have  a  place.  His  city  is  equipped  for  war  rather  than  for  peace, 
and  this  would  seem  to  be  justified  by  the  ordinary  condition  of 
Hellenic  States.  The  myth  of  the  earth-born  men  is  an  embodi- 
ment of  the  orthodox  tradition  of  Hellas,  and  the  allusion  to  the 
four  ages  of  the  world  is  also  sanctioned  by  the  authority  of 
Hesiod  and  the  poets.  Thus  we  see  that  the  Republic  is  partly 
founded  on  the  ideal  of  the  old  Greek  polis,  partly  on  the  actual 
circumstances  of  Hellas  in  that  age.  Plato,  like  the  old  painters, 
j  retains  the  traditional  form,  and  like  them  he  has  also  a  vision  of 
a  city  in  the  clouds. 

There  is  yet  another  thread  which  is  interwoven  in  the  texture 
of  the  work ;  for  the  Republic  is  not  only  a  Dorian  State,  but  a 
Pythagorean  league.  The  '  way  of  life '  which  was  connected  with 
the  name  of  Pythagoras,  like  the  Catholic  monastic  orders,  showed 
the  power  which  the  mind  of  an  individual  might  exercise  over 
his  contemporaries,  and  may  have  naturally  suggested  to  Plato  the 
possibility  of  reviving  such  '  mediaeval  institutions.'  The  Pytha- 
goreans, like  Plato,  enforced  a  rule  of  life  and  a  moral  and  in- 
tellectual training.  The  influence  ascribed  to  music,  which  to 

The  Pythagorean  way  of  life.  clxxiii 

us  seems  exaggerated,  is  also  a  Pythagorean  feature ;  it  is  not  to  INTRODUC- 
be  regarded  as  representing  the  real  influence  of  music  in  the 
Greek  world.  More  nearly  than  any  other  government  of 
Hellas,  the  Pythagorean  league  of  three  hundred  was  an  aris- 
tocracy of  virtue.  For  once  in  the  history  of  mankind  the  philo- 
sophy of  order  or  Kovpos,  expressing  and  consequently  enlisting 
on  its  side  the  combined  endeavours  of  the  better  part  of  the 
people,  obtained  the  management  of  public  affairs  and  held 
possession  of  it  for  a  considerable  time  (until  about  B.  c.  500). 
Probably  only  in  States  prepared  by  Dorian  institutions  would 
such  a  league  have  been  possible.  The  rulers,  like  Plato's  ^uXa/cey, 
were  required  to  submit  to  a  severe  training  in  order  to  prepare 
the  way  for  the  education  of  the  other  members  of  the  com- 
munity. Long  after  the  dissolution  of  the  Order,  eminent  Pytha- 
goreans, such  as  Archytas  of  Tarentum,  retained  their  political 
influence  over  the  cities  of  Magna  Graecia.  There  was  much  here 
that  was  suggestive  to  the  kindred  spirit  of  Plato,  who  had 
doubtless  meditated  deeply  on  the  '  way  of  life  of  Pythagoras ' 
(Rep.  x.  600  B)  and  his  followers.  Slight  traces  of  Pythagorean- 
ism  are  to  be  found  in  the  mystical  number  of  the  State,  in  the 
number  which  expresses  the  interval  between  the  king  and  the 
tyrant,  in  the  doctrine  of  transmigration,  in  the  music  of  the 
spheres,  as  well  as  in  the  great  though  secondary  importance 
ascribed  to  mathematics  in  education. 

But  as  in  his  philosophy,  so  also  in  the  form  of  his  State,  he 
goes  far  beyond  the  old  Pythagoreans.  He  attempts  a  task  really 
impossible,  which  is  to  unite  the  past  of  Greek  history  with  the 
future  of  philosophy,  analogous  to  that  other  impossibility,  which 
has  often  been  the  dream  of  Christendom,  the  attempt  to  unite 
the  past  history  of  Europe  with  the  kingdom  of  Christ.  Nothing 
actually  existing  in  the  world  at  all  resembles  Plato's  ideal  State  ; 
nor  does  he  himself  imagine  that  such  a  State  is  possible.  This 
he  repeats  again  and  again  ;  e.  g.  in  the  Republic  (ix.  sub  fin.),  or 
in  the  Laws  (Book  v.  739),  where,  casting  a  glance  back  on  the 
Republic,  he  admits  that  the  perfect  state  of  communism  and 
philosophy  was  impossible  in  his  own  age,  though  still  to  be 
retained  as  a  pattern.  The  same  doubt  is  implied  in  the  earnest- 
ness with  which  he  argues  in  the  Republic  (v.  472  D)  that  ideals 
are  none  the  worse  because  they  cannot  be  realized  in  fact,  and 


Was  Plato  a  good  citizen  '? 

-  in  the  chorus  of  laughter,  which  like  a  breaking  wave  will,  as 
he  anticipates,  greet  the  mention  of  his  proposals  ;  though 
like  other  writers  of  fiction,  he  uses  all  his  art  to  give  reality  to 
his  inventions.  When  asked  how  the  ideal  polity  can  come  into 
being,  he  answers  ironically,  '  When  one  son  of  a  king  becomes 
a  philosopher  '  ;  he  designates  the  fiction  of  the  earth-born  men 
as  '  a  noble  lie  '  ;  and  when  the  structure  is  finally  complete,  he 
fairly  tells  you  that  his  Republic  is  a  vision  only,  which  in  some 
sense  may  have  reality,  but  not  in  the  vulgar  one  of  a  reign  of 
philosophers  upon  earth.  It  has  been  said  that  Plato  flies  as 
well  as  walks,  but  this  falls  short  of  the  truth  ;  for  he  flies  and 
walks  at  the  same  time,  and  is  in  the  air  and  on  firm  ground  in 
successive  instants. 

Niebuhr  has  asked  a  trifling  question,  which  may  be  briefly 
noticed  in  this  place—  Was  Plato  a  good  citizen  ?  If  by  this  is 
meant,  Was  he  loyal  to  Athenian  institutions  ?—  he  can  hardly  be 
said  to  be  the  friend  of  democracy  :  but  neither  is  he  the  friend 
of  any  other  existing  form  of  government  ;  all  of  them  he  re- 
garded as  '  states  of  faction  '  (Laws  viii.  832  C)  ;  none  attained  to 
his  ideal  of  a  voluntary  rule  over  voluntary  subjects,  which  seems 
indeed  more  nearly  to  describe  democracy  than  any  other  ;  and 
the  worst  of  them  is  tyranny.  The  truth  is,  that  the  question  has 
hardly  any  meaning  when  applied  to  a  great  philosopher  whose 
writings  are  not  meant  for  a  particular  age  and  country,  but  for 
all  time  and  all  mankind.  The  decline  of  Athenian  politics  was 
probably  the  motive  which  led  Plato  to  frame  an  ideal  State,  and 
the  Republic  may  be  regarded  as  reflecting  the  departing  glory 
of  Hellas.  As  well  might  we  complain  of  St.  Augustine,  whose 
great  work  '  The  City  of  God  '  originated  in  a  similar  motive,  for 
not  being  loyal  to  the  Roman  Empire.  Even  a  nearer  parallel 
might  be  afforded  by  the  first  Christians,  who  cannot  fairly 
be  charged  with  being  bad  citizens  because,  though  'subject  to 
the  higher  powers,'  they  were  looking  forward  to  a  city  which  is 
in  heaven. 

II.  The  idea  of  the  perfect  State  is  full  of  paradox  when 
judged  of  according  to  the  ordinary  notions  of  mankind.  The 
paradoxes  of  one  age  have  been  said'  to  become  the  common- 
places of  the  next  ;  but  the  paradoxes  of  Plato  are  at  least  as 
paradoxical  to  us  as  they  were  to  his  contemporaries.  The 

The  community  of  property.  clxxv 

modern  world  has  either  sneered  at  them  as  absurd,  or  de- 
nounced  them  as  unnatural  and  immoral ;  men  have  been  pleased 
to  find  in  Aristotle's  criticisms  of  them  the  anticipation  of  their 
own  good  sense.  The  wealthy  and  cultivated  classes  have  dis- 
liked and  also  dreaded  them  ;  they  have  pointed  with  satisfaction 
to  the  failure  of  efforts  to  realize  them  in  practice.  Yet  since 
they  are  the  thoughts  of  one  of  the  greatest  of  human  intelli- 
gences, and  of  one  who  has  done  most  to  elevate  morality  and 
religion,  they  seem  to  deserve  a  better  treatment  at  our  hands. 
We  may  have  to  address  the  public,  as  Plato  does  poetry,  and 
assure  them  that  we  mean  no  harm  to  existing  institutions. 
There  are  serious  errors  which  have  a  side  of  truth  and  which 
therefore  may  fairly  demand  a  careful  consideration :  there  are 
truths  mixed  with  error  of  which  we  may  indeed  say,  *  The  half  is 
better  than  the  whole.'  Yet  'the  half  may  be  an  important  con- 
tribution to  the  study  of  human  nature. 

(a)  The  first  paradox  is  the  community  of  goods,  which  is 
mentioned  slightly  at  the  end  of  the  third  Book,  and  seemingly, 
as  Aristotle  observes,  is  confined  to  the  guardians ;  at  least  no 
mention  is  made  of  the  other  classes.  But  the  omission  is  not 
of  any  real  significance,  and  probably  arises  out  of  the  plan  of 
the  work,  which  prevents  the  writer  from  entering  into  details. 

Aristotle  censures  the  community  of  property  much  in  the 
spirit  of  modern  political  economy,  as  tending  to  repress  in- 
dustry, and  as  doing  away  with  the  spirit  of  benevolence. 
Modern  writers  almost  refuse  to  consider  the  subject,  which  is 
supposed  to  have  been  long  ago  settled  by  the  common,  opinion 
of  mankind.  But  it  must  be  remembered  that  the  sacredness  of 
property  is  a  notion  far  more  fixed  in  modern  than  in  ancient 
times.  The  world  has  grown  older,  and  is  therefore  more  con- 
servative. Primitive  society  offered  many  examples  of  land  held 
in  common,  either  by  a  tribe  or  by  a  township,  and  such  may 
probably  have  been  the  original  form  of  landed  tenure.  Ancient 
legislators  had  invented  various  modes  of  dividing  and  preserving 
the  divisions  of  land  among  the  citizens ;  according  to  Aristotle 
there  were  nations  who  held  the  land  in  common  and  divided 
the  produce,  and  there  were  others  who  divided  the  land  and 
stored  the  produce  in  common.  The  evils  of  debt  and  the  in- 
equality of  property  were  far  greater  in  ancient  than  in  modern 

clxxvi  The  community  of  property. 

INTRODUC-   times,  and  the  accidents  to  which  property  was  subject  from  war, 

TION.  t  t  ... 

or  revolution,  or  taxation,  or  other  legislative  interference,  were 
also  greater.  All  these  circumstances  gave  property  a  less  fixed 
and  sacred  character.  The  early  Christians  are  believed  to  have 
held  their  property  in  common,  and  the  principle  is  sanctioned 
by  the  words  of  Christ  himself,  and  has  been  maintained  as  a 
counsel  of  perfection  in  almost  all  ages  of  the  Church.  Nor  have 
there  been  wanting  instances  of  modern  enthusiasts  who  have 
made  a  religion  of  communism  ;  in  every  age  of  religious  excite- 
ment notions  like  Wycliffe's  '  inheritance  of  grace '  have  tended 
to  prevail.  A  like  spirit,  but  fiercer  and  more  violent,  has  ap- 
peared in  politics.  '  The  preparation  of  the  Gospel  of  peace '  soon 
becomes  the  red  flag  of  Republicanism. 

We  can  hardly  judge  what  effect  Plato's  views  would  have 
upon  his  own  contemporaries  ;  they  would  perhaps  have  seemed 
to  them  only  an  exaggeration  of  the  Spartan  commonwealth. 
Even  modern  writers  would  acknowledge  that  the  right  of  private 
property  is  based  on  expediency,  and  may  be  interfered  with  in 
a  variety  of  ways  for  the  public  good.  Any  other  mode  of  vesting 
property  which  was  found  to  be  more  advantageous,  would  in 
time  acquire  the  same  basis  of  right ;  '  the  most  useful,'  in  Plato's 
words,  'would  be  the  most  sacred.'  The  lawyers  and  ecclesi- 
astics of  former  ages  would  have  spoken  of  property  as  a  sacred 
institution.  But  they  only  meant  by  such  language  to  oppose  the 
greatest  amount  of  resistance  to  any  invasion  of  the  rights  of  in- 
dividuals and  of  the  Church. 

When  we  consider  the  question,  without  any  fear  of  immediate 
application  to  practice,  in  the  spirit  of  Plato's  Republic,  are  we 
quite  sure  that  the  received  notions  of  property  are  the  best? 
Is  the  distribution  of  wealth  which  is  customary  in  civilized 
countries  the  most  favourable  that  can  be  conceived  for  the 
education  and  development  of  the  mass  of  mankind  ?  Can  *  the 
spectator  of  all  time  and  all  existence*  be  quite  convinced  that 
one  or  two  thousand  years  hence,  great  changes  will  not  have 
taken  place  in  the  rights  of  property,  or  even  that  the  very  notion 
of  property,  beyond  what  is  necessary  for  personal  maintenance, 
may  not  have  disappeared  ?  This  was  a  distinction  familiar  to 
Aristotle,  though  likely  to  be  laughed  at  among  ourselves.  Such 
a  change  would  not  be  greater  than  some  other  changes  through 

The  community  of  property.  clxxvii 

which  the  world  has  passed  in  the  transition  from  ancient  to 
modern  society,  for  example,  the  emancipation  of  the  serfs  in 
Russia,  or  the  abolition  of  slavery  in  America  and  the  West 
Indies ;  and  not  so  great  as  the  difference  which  separates  the 
Eastern  village  community  from  the  Western  world.  To  accom- 
plish such  a  revolution  in  the  course  of  a  few  centuries,  would 
imply  a  rate  of  progress  not  more  rapid  than  has  actually  taken 
place  during  the  last  fifty  or  sixty  years.  The  kingdom  of  Japan 
underwent  more  change  in  five  or  six  years  than  Europe  in  five 
or  six  hundred.  Many  opinions  and  beliefs  which  have  been 
cherished  among  ourselves  quite  as  strongly  as  the  sacredness  of 
property  have  passed  away ;  and  the  most  untenable  propositions 
respecting  the  right  of  bequests  or  entail  have  been  maintained 
with  as  much  fervour  as  the  most  moderate.  Some  one  will  be 
heard  to  ask  whether  a  state  of  society  can  be  final  in  which  the 
interests  of  thousands  are  perilled  on  the  life  or  character  of  a 
single  person.  And  many  will  indulge  the  hope  that  our  present 
condition  may,  after  all,  be  only  transitional,  and  may  conduct  to 
a  higher,  in  which  property,  besides  ministering  to  the  enjoyment 
of  the  few,  may  also  furnish  the  means  of  the  highest  culture  to 
all,  and  will  be  a  greater  benefit  to  the  public  generally,  and  also 
more  under  the  control  of  public  authority.  There  may  come  a 
time  when  the  saying,  '  Have  I  not  a  right  to  do  what  I  will  with 
my  own  ? '  will  appear  to  be  a  barbarous  relic  of  individualism ; — 
when  the  possession  of  a  part  may  be  a  greater  blessing  to  each 
and  all  than  the  possession  of  the  whole  is  now  to  any  one. 

Such  reflections  appear  visionary  to  the  eye  of  the  practical 
statesman,  but  they  are  within  the  range  of  possibility  to  the 
philosopher.  He  can  imagine  that  in  some  distant  age  or  clime, 
and  through  the  influence  of  some  individual,  the  notion  of  com- 
mon property  may  or  might  have  sunk  as  deep  into  the  heart  of 
a  race,  and  have  become  as  fixed  to  them,  as  private  property 
is  to  ourselves.  He  knows  that  this  latter  institution  is  not  more 
than  four  or  five  thousand  years  old  :  may  not  the  end  revert  to 
the  beginning?  In  our  own  age  even  Utopias  affect  the  spirit  of 
legislation,  and  an  abstract  idea  may  exercise  a  great  influence  on 
practical  politics. 

The  objections  that  would  be  generally  urged  against  Plato's 
community  of  property,  are  the  old  ones  of  Aristotle,  that  motives 


clxxviii  The  community  of  property, 

INTRODUC-  for  exertion  would  be  taken  away,  and  that  disputes  would  arise 
when  each  was  dependent  upon  all.  Every  man  would  produce 
as  little  and  consume  as  much  as  he  liked.  The  experience  of 
civilized  nations  has  hitherto  been  adverse  to  Socialism.  The 
effort  is  too  great  for  human  nature ;  men  try  to  live  in  common, 
but  the  personal  feeling  is  always  breaking  in.  On  the  other 
hand  it  may  be  doubted  whether  our  present  notions  of  property 
are  not  conventional,  for  they  differ  in  different  countries  and 
in  different  states  of  society.  We  boast  of  an  individualism 
which  is  not  freedom,  but  rather  an  artificial  result  of  the  in- 
dustrial state  of  modern  Europe.  The  individual  is  nominally 
free,  but  he  is  also  powerless  in  a  world  bound  hand  and  foot 
in  the  chains  of  economic  necessity.  Even  if  we  cannot  expect 
the  mass  of  mankind  to  become  disinterested,  at  any  rate  we 
observe  in  them  a  power  of  organization  which  fifty  years  ago 
would  never  have  been  suspected.  The  same  forces  which  have 
revolutionized  the  political  system  of  Europe,  may  effect  a  similar 
change  in  the  social  and  industrial  relations  of  mankind.  And 
if  we  suppose  the  influence  of  some  good  as  well  as  neutral 
motives  working  in  the  community,  there  will  be  no  absurdity 
in  expecting  that  the  mass  of  mankind  having  power,  and 
becoming  enlightened  about  the  higher  possibilities  of  human 
life,  when  they  learn  how  much  more  is  attainable  for  all  than 
is  at  present  the  possession  of  a  favoured  few,  may  pursue  the 
common  interest  with  an  intelligence  and  persistency  which  man- 
kind have  hitherto  never  seen. 

Now  that  the  world  has  once  been  set  in  motion,  and  is  no 
longer  held  fast  under  the  tyranny  of  custom  and  ignorance ;  now 
that  criticism  has  pierced  the  veil  of  tradition  and  the  past  no 
longer  overpowers  the  present, — the  progress  of  civilization  may 
be  expected  to  be  far  greater  and  swifter  than  heretofore.  Even 
at  our  present  rate  of  speed  the  point  at  which  we  may  arrive 
in  two  or  three  generations  is  beyond  the  power  of  imagination 
to  foresee.  There  are  forces  in  the  world  which  work,  not  in  an 
arithmetical,  but  in  a  geometrical  ratio  of  increase.  Education,  to 
use  the  expression  of  Plato,  moves  like  a  wheel  with  an  ever- 
multiplying  rapidity.  Nor  can  we  say  how  great  may  be  its 
influence,  when  it  becomes  universal, — when  it  has  been  in- 
herited by  many  generations,— when  it  is  freed  from  the  trammels 

The  community  of  wives  and  children.  clxxix 

of  superstition  and  rightly  adapted  to  the  wants  and  capacities 
of  different  classes  of  men  and  women.  Neither  do  we  know 
how  much  more  the  co-operation  of  minds  or  of  hands  may  be 
capable  of  accomplishing,  whether  in  labour  or  in  study.  The 
resources  of  the  natural  sciences  are  not  half-developed  as  yet ; 
the  soil  of  the  earth,  instead  of  growing  more  barren,  may  become 
many  times  more  fertile  than  hitherto ;  the  uses  of  machinery 
far  greater,  and  also  more  minute  than  at  present.  New  secrets 
of  physiology  may  be  revealed,  deeply  affecting  human  nature 
in  its  innermost  recesses.  The  standard  of  health  may  be  raised 
and  the  lives  of  men  prolonged  by  sanitary  and  medical  know- 
ledge. There  may  be  peace,  there  may  be  leisure,  there  may 
be  innocent  refreshments  of  many  kinds.  The  ever-increasing 
power  of  locomotion  may  join  the  extremes  of  earth.  There 
may  be  mysterious  workings  of  the  human  mind,  such  as  occur 
only  at  great  crises  of  history.  The  East  and  the  West  may  meet 
together,  and  all  nations  may  contribute  their  thoughts  and  their 
experience  to  the  common  stock  of  humanity.  Many  other  ele- 
ments enter  into  a  speculation  of  this  kind.  But  it  is  better  to 
make  an  end  of  them.  For  such  reflections  appear  to  the 
majority  far-fetched,  and  to  men  of  science,  commonplace. 

(j3)  Neither  to  the  mind  of  Plato  nor  of  Aristotle  did  the  doctrine 
of  community  of  property  present  at  all  the  same  difficulty,  or 
appear  to  be  the  same  violation  of  the  common  Hellenic  senti- 
ment, as  the  community  of  wives  and  children.  This  paradox 
he  prefaces  by  another  proposal,  that  the  occupations  of  men  and 
women  shall  be  the  same,  and  that  to  this  end  they  shall  have 
a  common  training  and  education.  Male  and  female  animals  have 
the  same  pursuits — why  not  also  the  two  sexes  of  man  ? 

But  have  we  not  here  fallen  into  a  contradiction  ?  for  we  were 
saying  that  different  natures  should  have  different  pursuits.  How 
then  can  men  and  women  have  the  same  ?  And  is  not  the  pro-* 
posal  inconsistent  with  our  notion  of  the  division  of  labour  ? — 
These  objections  are  no  sooner  raised  than  answered;  for,  ac- 
cording to  Plato,  there  is  no  organic  difference  between  men  and 
women,  but  only  the  accidental  one  that  men  beget  and  women 
bear  children.  Following  the  analogy  of  the  other  animals,  he 
contends  that  all  natural  gifts  are  scattered  about  indifferently 
among  both  sexes,  though  there  may  be  a  superiority  of  degree 

n  2 

clxxx  The  community  of  wives  and  children. 

INTRODUC-  on  the  part  of  the  men.  The  objection  on  the  score  of  decency 
to  their  taking  part  in  the  same  gymnastic  exercises,  is  met  by 
Plato's  assertion  that  the  existing  feeling  is  a  matter  of  habit. 

That  Plato  should  have  emancipated  himself  from  the  ideas  of 
his  own  country  and  from,  the  example  of  the  East,  shows  a 
wonderful  independence  of  mind.  He  is  conscious  that  women 
are  half  the  human  race,  in  some  respects  the  more  important  half 
(Laws  vi.  781  B) ;  and  for  the  sake  both  of  men  and  women  he 
desires  to  raise  the  woman  to  a  higher  level  of  existence.  He 
brings,  not  sentiment,  but  philosophy  to  bear  upon  a  question 
which  both  in  ancient  and  modern  times  has  been  chiefly  re- 
garded in  the  light  of  custom  or  feeling.  The  Greeks  had  noble 
conceptions  of  womanhood  in  the  goddesses  Athene  and  Artemis, 
and  in  the  heroines  Antigone  and  Andromache.  But  these  ideals 
had  no  counterpart  in  actual  life.  The  Athenian  woman  was  in  no 
way  the  equal  of  her  husband ;  she  was  not  the  entertainer  of  his 
guests  or  the  mistress  of  his  house,  but  only  his  housekeeper  and 
the  mother  of  his  children.  She  took  no  part  in  military  or  politi- 
cal matters  ;  nor  is  there  any  instance  in  the  later  ages  of  Greece 
of  a  woman  becoming  famous  in  literature.  '  Hers  is  the  greatest 
glory  who  has  the  least  renown  among  men,'  is  the  historian's 
conception  of  feminine  excellence.  A  very  different  ideal  of 
womanhood  is  held  up  by  Plato  to  the  world ;  she  is  to  be  the 
companion  of  the  man,  and  to  share  with  him  in  the  toils  of  war 
and  in  the  cares  of  government.  She  is  to  be  similarly  trained 
both  in  bodily  and  mental  exercises.  She  is  to  lose  as  far  as 
possible  the  incidents  of  maternity  and  the  characteristics  of  the 
female  sex. 

The  modern  antagonist  of  the  equality  of  the  sexes  would  argue 
that  the  differences  between  men  and  women  are  not  confined  to 
the  single  point  urged  by  Plato  ;  that  sensibility,  gentleness,  grace, 
are  the  qualities  of  women,  while  energy,  strength,  higher  intelli- 
gence, are  to  be  looked  for  in  men.  And  the  criticism  is  just : 
the  differences  affect  the  whole  nature,  and  are  not,  as  Plato 
supposes,  confined  to  a  single  point.  But  neither  can  we  say  how 
far  these  differences  are  due  to  education  and  the  opinions  of 
mankind,  or  physically  inherited  from  the  habits  and  opinions  of 
former  generations.  Women  have  been  always  taught,  not 
exactly  that  they  are  slaves,  but  that  they  are  in  an  inferior 

The  community  of  wives  and  children.  clxxxi 

position,  which  is  also  supposed  to  have  compensating  advantages ; 
and  to  this  position  they  have  conformed.  It  is  also  true  that  the 
physical  form  may  easily  change  in  the  course  of  generations 
through  the  mode  of  life ;  and  the  weakness  or  delicacy,  which 
was  once  a  matter  of  opinion,  may  become  a  physical  fact.  The 
characteristics  of  sex  vary  greatly  in  different  countries  arid  ranks 
of  society,  and  at  different  ages  in  the  same  individuals.  Plato 
may  have  been  right  in  denying  that  there  was  any  ultimate 
difference  in  the  sexes  of  man  other  than  that  which  exists  in 
animals,  because  all  other  differences  may  be  conceived  to  dis- 
appear in  other  states  of  society,  or  under  different  circumstances 
of  life  and  training. 

The  first  wave  having  been  passed,  we  proceed  to  the  second — 
community  of  wives  and  children.  '  Is  it  possible  ?  Is  it  desir- 
able ? '  For,  as  Glaucon  intimates,  and  as  we  far  more  strongly 
insist, '  Great  doubts  may  be  entertained  about  both  these  points.' 
Any  free  discussion  of  the  question  is  impossible,  and  mankind 
are  perhaps  right  in  not  allowing  the  ultimate  bases  of  social  life 
to  be  examined.  Few  of  us  can  safely  enquire  into  the  things 
which  nature  hides,  any  more  than  we  can  dissect  our  own  bodies. 
Still,  the  manner  in  which  Plato  arrived  at  his  conclusions  should 
be  considered.  For  here,  as  Mr.  Grote  has  remarked,  is  a 
wonderful  thing,  that  one  of  the  wisest  and  best  of  men  should 
have  entertained  ideas  of  morality  which  are  wholly  at  variance 
with  our  own.  And  if  we  would  do  Plato  justice,  we  must 
examine  carefully  the  character  of  his  proposals.  First,  we  may 
observe  that  the  relations  of  the  sexes  supposed  by  him  are  the 
reverse  of  licentious :  he  seems  rather  to  aim  at  an  impossible 
strictness.  Secondly,  he  conceives  the  family  to  be  the  natural 
enemy  of  the  state ;  and  he  entertains  the  serious  hope  that  an 
universal  brotherhood  may  take  the  place  of  private  interests— 
an  aspiration  which,  although  not  justified  by  experience,  has 
possessed  many  noble  minds.  On  the  other  hand,  there  is  no 
sentiment  or  imagination  in  the  connections  which  men  and 
women  are  supposed  by  him  to  form ;  human  beings  return  to 
the  level  of  the  animals,  neither  exalting  to  heaven,  nor  yet 
abusing  the  natural  instincts.  All  that  world  of  poetry  and  fancy 
which  the  passion  of  love  has  called  forth  in  modern  literature 
and  romance  would  have  been  banished  by  Plato.  The  arrange- 

clxxxii  The  community  of  wives  and  children. 

IHTRQDUC-  ments  of  marriage  in  the  Republic  are  directed  to  one  object— 
the  improvement  of  the  race.  In  successive  generations  a  great 
development  both  of  bodily  and  mental  qualities  might  be  pos- 
sible. The  analogy  of  animals  tends  to  show  that  mankind  can. 
within  certain  limits  receive  a  change  of  nature.  And  as  in 
animals  we  should  commonly  choose  the  best  for  breeding,  and 
destroy  the  others,  so  there  must  be  a  selection  made  of  the 
human  beings  whose  lives  are  worthy  to  be  preserved. 

.  We  start  back  horrified  from  this  Platonic  ideal,  in  the  belief, 
first,  that  the  higher  feelings  of  humanity  are  far  too  strong  to  be 
crushed  out ;  secondly,  that  if  the  plan  could  be  carried  into 
execution  we  should  be  poorly  recompensed  by  improvements  in 
the  breed  for  the  loss  of  the  best  things  in  life.  The  greatest 
regard  for  the  weakest  and  meanest  of  human  beings— the  infant, 
the  criminal,  the  insane,  the  idiot,  truly  seems  to  us  one  of  the 
noblest  results  of  Christianity.  We  have  learned,  though  as  yet 
imperfectly,  that  the  individual  man  has  an  endless  value  in  the 
sight  of  God,  and  that  we  honour  Him  when  we  honour  the 
darkened  and  disfigured  image  of  Him  (cp.  Laws  xi.  931  A).  This 
is  the  lesson  which  Christ  taught  in  a  parable  when  He  said, 
'  Their  angels  do  always  behold  the  face  of  My  Father  which  is 
in  heaven.'  Such  lessons  are  only  partially  realized  in  any  age ; 
they  were  foreign  to  the  age  of  Plato,  as  they  have  very  different 
degrees  of  strength  in  different  countries  or  ages  of  the  Christian 
world.  To  the  Greek  the  family  was  a  religious  and  customary 
institution  binding  the  members  together  by  a  tie  inferior  in 
strength  to  that  of  friendship,  and  having  a  less  solemn  and 
sacred  sound  than  that  of  country.  The  relationship  which 
existed  on  the  lower  level  of  custom,  Plato  imagined  that  he  was 
raising  to  the  higher  level  of  nature  and  reason ;  while  from  the 
modern  and  Christian  point  of  view  we  regard  him  as  sanctioning 
murder  and  destroying  the  first  principles  of  morality. 

The  great  error  in  these  and  similar  speculations  is  that  the 
difference  between  man  and  the  animals  is  forgotten  in  them.  The 
human  being  is  regarded  with  the  eye  of  a  dog-  or  bird-fancier 
(v.  459  A),  or  at  best  of  a  slave-owner ;  the  higher  or  human 
qualities  are  left  out.  The  breeder  of  animals  aims  chiefly  at  size 
or  speed  or  strength ;  in  a  few  cases  at  courage  or  temper ;  most 
often  the  fitness  of  the  animal  for  food  is  the  great  desideratum. 

The  community  of  wives  and  children.  clxxxiii 

But  mankind  are  not  bred  to  be  eaten,  nor  yet  for  their  superiority  INTRODUC- 
in  fighting  or  in  running  or  in  drawing  carts.    Neither  does  the 

improvement  of  the  human  race  consist  merely  in  the  increase  of 
the  bones  and  flesh,  but  in  the  growth  and  enlightenment  of  the 
mind.  Hence  there  must  be  '  a  marriage  of  true  minds '  as  well  as 
of  bodies,  of  imagination  and  reason  as  well  as  of  lusts  and  instincts. 
Men  and  women  without  feeling  or  imagination  are  justly  called 
brutes  ;  yet  Plato  takes  away  these  qualities  and  puts  nothing  in 
their  place,  not  even  the  desire  of  a  noble  offspring,  since  parents 
are  not  to  know  their  own  children.  The  most  important  transac- 
tion of  social  life,  he  who  is  the  idealist  philosopher  converts  into 
the  most  brutal.  For  the  pair  are  to  have  no  relation  to  one 
another,  except  at  the  hymeneal  festival ;  their  children  are  not 
theirs,  but  the  state's ;  nor  is  any  tie  of  affection  to  unite  them. 
Yet  here  the  analogy  of  the  animals  might  have  saved  Plato  from 
a  gigantic  error,  if  he  had  '  not  lost  sight  of  his  own  illustration ' 
(ii.  375  D).  For  the  '  nobler  sort  of  birds  and  beasts '  (v.  459  A) 
nourish  and  protect  their  offspring  and  are  faithful  to  one  another. 

An  eminent  physiologist  thinks  it  worth  while  '  to  try  and  place 
life  on  a  physical  basis.'  But  should  not  life  rest  on  the  moral 
rather  than  upon  the  physical?  The  higher  comes  first,  then 
the  lower ;  first  the  human  and  rational,  afterwards  the  animal. 
Yet  they  are  not  absolutely  divided ;  and  in  times  of  sickness  or 
moments  of  self-indulgence  they  seem  to  be  only  different  aspects 
of  a  common  human  nature  which  includes  them  both.  Neither  is 
the  moral  the  limit  of  the  physical,  but  the  expansion  and  enlarge- 
ment of  it, — the  highest  form  which  the  physical  is  capable  of 
receiving.  As  Plato  would  say,  the  body  does  not  take  care  of  the 
body,  and  still  less  of  the  mind,  but  the  mind  takes  care  of  both. 
In  all  human  action  not  that  which  is  common  to  man  and  the 
animals  is  the  characteristic  element,  but  that  which  distinguishes 
him  from  them.  Even  if  we  admit  the  physical  basis,  and  resolve 
all  virtue  into  health  of  body — '  lafagon  que  notre  sang  circule,'  still 
on  merely  physical  grounds  we  must  come  back  to  ideas.  Mind 
and  reason  and  duty  and  conscience,  under  these  or  other  names, 
are  always  reappearing.  There  cannot  be  health  of  body  without 
health  of  mind ;  nor  health  of  mind  without  the  sense  of  duty  and 
the  love  of  truth  (cp.  Charm.  156  D,  E). 

That  the  greatest  of  ancient  philosophers  should  in  his  regulations 

clxxxiv  The  community  of  wives  and  children. 

INTRODUC-  about  marriage  have  fallen  into  the  error  of  separating  body  and 
mind,  does  indeed  appear  surprising.  Yet  the  wonder  is  not 
so  much  that  Plato  should  have  entertained  ideas  of  morality 
which  to  our  own  age  are  revolting,  but  that  he  should  have  con- 
tradicted himself  to  an  extent  which  is  hardly  credible,  falling 
in  an  instant  from  the  heaven  of  idealism  into  the  crudest 
animalism.  Rejoicing  in  the  newly  found  gift  of  reflection,  he 
appears  to  have  thought  out  a  subject  about  which  he  had 
better  have  followed  the  enlightened  feeling  of  his  own  age.  The 
general  sentiment  of  Hellas  was  opposed  to  his  monstrous  fancy. 
The  old  poets,  and  in  later  time  the  tragedians,  showed  no  want  of 
respect  for  the  family,  on  which  much  of  their  religion  was  based. 
But  the  example  of  Sparta,  and  perhaps  in  some  degree  the 
tendency  to  defy  public  opinion,  seems  to  have  misled  him.  He 
will  make  one  family  out  of  all  the  families  of  the  state.  He  will 
select  the  finest  specimens  of  men  and  women  and  breed  from 
these  only. 

Yet  because  the  illusion  is  always  returning  (for  the  animal  part 
of  human  nature  will  from  time  to  time  assert  itself  in  the  disguise 
of  philosophy  as  well  as  of  poetry),  and  also  because  any  departure 
from  established  morality,  even  where  this  is  not  intended,  is  apt 
to  be  unsettling,  it  may  be  worth  while  to  draw  out  a  little  more 
at  length  the  objections  to  the  Platonic  marriage.  In  the  first 
place,  history  shows  that  wherever  polygamy  has  been  largely 
allowed  the  race  has  deteriorated.  One  man  to  one  woman  is  the 
law  of  God  and  nature.  Nearly  all  the  civilized  peoples  of  the 
world  at  some  period  before  the  age  of  written  records,  have 
become  monogamists ;  and  the  step  when  once  taken  has  never 
been  retraced.  The  exceptions  occurring  among  Brahmins  or 
Mahometans  or  the  ancient  Persians,  are  of  that  sort  which  may  be 
said  to  prove  the  rule.  The  connexions  formed  between  superior 
and  inferior  races  hardly  ever  produce  a  noble  offspring,  because 
they  are  licentious;  and  because  the  children  in  such  cases 
usually  despise  the  mother  and  are  neglected  by  the  father  who 
is  ashamed  of  them.  Barbarous  nations  when  they  are  introduced 
by  Europeans  to  vice  die  out ;  polygamist  peoples  either  import 
and  adopt  children  from  other  countries,  or  dwindle  in  numbers, 
or  both.  Dynasties  and  aristocracies  which  have  disregarded  the 
laws  of  nature  have  decreased  in  numbers  and  degenerated  in 

The  community  of  wives  and  children.  clxxxv 

stature  ;  '  manages  de  convenance '  leave  their  enfeebling  stamp 
on  the  offspring  of  them  (cp.  King  Lear,  Act  i.  Sc.  2).  The 
marriage  of  near  relations,  or  the  marrying  in  and  in  of  the  same 
family  tends  constantly  to  weakness  or  idiocy  in  the  children, 
sometimes  assuming  the  form  as  they  grow  older  of  passionate 
licentiousness.  The  common  prostitute  rarely  has  any  offspring. 
By  such  unmistakable  evidence  is  the  authority  of  morality 
asserted  in  the  relations  of  the  sexes :  and  so  many  more  elements 
enter  into  this  '  mystery '  than  are  dreamed  of  by  Plato  and  some 
other  philosophers. 

Recent  enquirers  have  indeed  arrived  at  the  conclusion  that 
among  primitive  tribes  there  existed  a  community  of  wives  as 
of  property,  and  that  the  captive  taken  by  the  spear  was  the 
only  wife  or  slave  whom  any  man  was  permitted  to  call  his  own. 
The  partial  existence  of  such  customs  among  some  of  the  lower 
races  of  man,  and  the  survival  of  peculiar  ceremonies  in  the 
marriages  of  some  civilized  nations,  are  thought  to  furnish  a 
proof  of  similar  institutions  having  been  once  universal.  There 
can  be  no  question  that  the  study  .of  anthropology  has  consider- 
ably changed  our  views  respecting  the  first  appearance  of  man 
upon  the  earth.  We  know  more  about  the  aborigines  of  the 
world  than  formerly,  but  our  increasing  knowledge  shows  above 
all  things  how  little  we  know.  With  all  the  helps  which  written 
monuments  afford,  we  do  but  faintly  realize  the  condition  of  man 
two  thousand  or  three  thousand  years  ago.  Of  what  his  condition 
was  when  removed  to  a  distance  200,000  or  300,000  years,  when 
the  majority  of  mankind  were  lower  and  nearer  the  animals  than 
any  tribe  now  existing  upon  the  earth,  we  cannot  even  entertain 
conjecture.  Plato  (Laws  iii.  676  foil.)  and  Aristotle  (Metaph.  xi.  8, 
§§  19,20)  may  have  been  more  right  than  we  imagine  in  supposing 
that  some  forms  of  civilization  were  discovered  and  lost  several 
times  over.  If  we  cannot  argue  that  all  barbarism  is  a  degraded 
civilization,  neither  can  we  set  any  limits  to  the  depth  of  degrada- 
tion to  which  the  human  race  may  sink  through  war,  disease,  or 
isolation.  And  if  we  are  to  draw  inferences  about  the  origin 
of  marriage  from  the  practice  of  barbarous  nations,  we  should 
also  consider  the  remoter  analogy  of  the  animals.  Many  birds 
and  animals,  especially  the  carnivorous,  have  only  one  mate,  and 
the  love  and  care  of  offspring  which  seems  to  be  natural  is  in- 

clxxxvi  The  community  of  wives  and  children. 

INTRODUC-  consistent  with  the  primitive  theory  of  marriage.  If  we  go  back 
to  an  imaginary  state  in  which  men  were  almost  animals  and 
the  companions  of  them,  we  have  as  much  right  to  argue  from 
what  is  animal  to  what  is  human  as  from  the  barbarous  to  the 
civilized  man.  The  record  of  animal  life  on  the  globe  is  frag- 
mentary,— the  connecting  links  are  wanting  and  cannot  be  sup- 
plied; the  record  of  social  life  is  still  more  fragmentary  and 
precarious.  Even  if  we  admit  that  our  first  ancestors  had  no 
such  institution  as  marriage,  still  the  stages  by  which  men  passed 
from  outer  barbarism  to  the  comparative  civilization  of  China, 
Assyria,  and  Greece,  or  even  of  the  ancient  Germans,  are  wholly 
unknown  to  us. 

Such  speculations  are  apt  to  be  unsettling,  because  they  seem 
to  show  that  an  institution  which  was  thought  to  be  a  revelation 
from  heaven,  is  only  the  growth  of  history  and  experience.  We 
ask  what  is  the  origin  of  marriage,  and  we  are  told  that  like 
the  right  of  property,  after  many  wars  and  contests,  it  has 
gradually  arisen  out  of  the  selfishness  of  barbarians.  We  stand 
face  to  face  with  human  nature  in  its  primitive  nakedness.  We 
are  compelled  to  accept,  not  the  highest,  but  the  lowest  account 
of  the  origin  of  human  society.  But  on  the  other  hand  we  may 
truly  say  that  every  step  in  human  progress  has  been  in  the 
same  direction,  and  that  in  the  course  of  ages  the  idea  of  marriage 
and  of  the  family  has  been  more  and  more  defined  and  conse- 
crated. The  civilized  East  is  immeasurably  in  advance  of  any 
savage  tribes ;  the  Greeks  and  Romans  have  improved  upon  the 
East;  the  Christian  nations  have  been  stricter  in  their  views 
of  the  marriage  relation  than  any  of  the  ancients.  In  this  as 
in  so  many  other  things,  instead  of  looking  back  with  regret  to 
the  past,  we  should  look  forward  with  hope  to  the  future.  We 
must  consecrate  that  which  we  believe  to  be  the  most  holy,  and 
that '  which  is  the  most  holy  will  be  the  most  useful.'  There  is 
more  reason  for  maintaining  the  sacredness  of  the  marriage  tie, 
when  we  see  the  benefit  of  it,  than  when  we  only  felt  a  vague 
religious  horror  about  the  violation  of  it.  But  in  all  times  of 
transition,  when  established  beliefs  are  being  undermined,  there 
is  a  danger  that  in  the  passage  from  the  old  to  the  new  we  may 
insensibly  let  go  the  moral  principle,  finding  an  excuse  for  listen- 
ing to  the  voice  of  passion  in  the  uncertainty  of  knowledge,  or  the 

The  community  of  wives  and  children.  clxxxvii 

fluctuations  of  opinion.  And  there  are  many  persons  in  our  own  INTRODUC- 
day  who,  enlightened  by  the  study  of  anthropology,  and  fascinated 
by  what  is  new  and  strange,  some  using  the  language  of  fear, 
others  of  hope,  are  inclined  to  believe  that  a  time  will  come  when 
through  the  self-assertion  of  women,  or  the  rebellious  spirit  of 
children,  by  the  analysis  of  human  relations,  or  by  the  force  of 
outward  circumstances,  the  ties  of  family  life  may  be  broken  or 
greatly  relaxed.  They  point  to  societies  in  America  and  else- 
where which  tend  to  show  that  the  destruction  of  the  family  need 
not  necessarily  involve  the  overthrow  of  all  morality.  Whatever 
we  may  think  of  such  speculations,  we  can  hardly  deny  that  they 
have  been  more  rife  in  this  generation  than  in  any  other;  and 
whither  they  are  tending,  who  can  predict  ? 

To  the  doubts  and  queries  raised  by  these  'social  reformers' 
respecting  the  relation  of  the  sexes  and  the  moral  nature  of  man, 
there  is  a  sufficient  answer,  if  any  is  needed.  The  difference  be- 
tween them  and  us  is  really  one  of  fact.  They  are  speaking  of  man 
as  they  wish  or  fancy  him  to  be,  but  we  are  speaking  of  him  as  he 
is.  They  isolate  the  animal  part  of  his  nature ;  we  regard  him  as  a 
creature  having  many  sides,  or  aspects,  moving  between  good  and 
evil,  striving  to  rise  above  himself  and  to  become  *  a  little  lower 
than  the  angels.'  We  also,  to  use  a  Platonic  formula,  are  not 
ignorant  of  the  dissatisfactions  and  incompatibilities  of  family  life, 
of  the  meannesses  of  trade,  of  the  flatteries  of  one  class  of  society 
by  another,  of  the  impediments  which  the  family  throws  in  the  way 
of  lofty  aims  and  aspirations.  But  we  are  conscious  that  there  are 
evils  and  dangers  in  the  background  greater  still,  which  are  not 
appreciated,  because  they  are  either  concealed  or  suppressed. 
What  a  condition  of  man  would  that  be,  in  which  human  passions 
were  controlled  by  no  authority,  divine  or  human,  in  which  there 
was  no  shame  or  decency,  no  higher  affection  overcoming  or 
^sanctifying  the  natural  instincts,  but  simply  a  rule  of  health  !  Is  it 
for  this  that  we  are  asked  to  throw  away  the  civilization  which  is 
the  growth  of  ages  ? 

For  strength  and  health  are  not  the  only  qualities  to  be  desired ; 
there  are  the  more  important  considerations  of  mind  and  character 
and  soul.  We  know  how  human  nature  may  be  degraded ;  we 
do  not  know  how  by  artificial  means  any  improvement  in  the 
breed  can  be  effected.  The  problem  is  a  complex  onej  for  if  we 

clxxxviii  The  community  of  wives  and  children. 

INTRODUC-  go  back  only  four  steps  (and  these  at  least  enter  into  the  com- 
position of  a  child),  there  are  commonly  thirty  progenitors  to 
be  taken  into  account.  Many  curious  facts,  rarely  admitting  of 
proof,  are  told  us  respecting  the  inheritance  of  disease  or  character 
from  a  remote  ancestor.  We  can  trace  the  physical  resemblances 
of  parents  and  children  in  the  same  family — 

'  Sic  oculos,  sic  ille  manus,  sic  ora  ferebat ' ; 

but  scarcely  less  often  the  differences  which  distinguish  children 
both  from  their  parents  and  from  one  another.  We  are  told 
of  similar  mental  peculiarities  running  in  families,  and  again 
of  a  tendency,  as  in  the  animals,  to  revert  to  a  common  or 
original  stock.  But  we  have  a  difficulty  in  distinguishing  what 
is  a  true  inheritance  of  genius  or  other  qualities,  and  what  is 
mere  imitation  or  the  result  of  similar  circumstances.  Great 
men  and  great  women  have  rarely  had  great  fathers  and  mothers. 
Nothing  that  we  know  of  in  the  circumstances  of  their  birth  or 
lineage  will  explain  their  appearance.  Of  the  English  poets  of 
the  last  and  two  preceding  centuries  scarcely  a  descendant 
remains, — none  have  ever  been  distinguished.  So  deeply  has 
nature  hidden  her  secret,  and  so  ridiculous  is  the  fancy  which 
has  been  entertained  by  some  that  we  might  in  time  by  suitable 
marriage  arrangements  or,  as  Plato  would  have  said,  'by  an 
ingenious  system  of  lots/  produce  a  Shakespeare  or  a  Milton. 
Even  supposing  that  we  could  breed  men  having  the  tenacity 
of  bulldogs,  or,  like  the  Spartans,  '  lacking  the  wit  to  run  away 
in  battle,'  would  the  world  be  any  the  better?  Many  of  the 
noblest  specimens  of  the  human  race  have  been  among  the 
weakest  physically.  Tyrtaeus  or  Aesop,  or  our  own  Newton, 
would  have  been  exposed  at  Sparta;  and  some  of  the  fairest 
and  strongest  men  and  women  have  been  among  the  wickedest 
and  worst.  Not  by  the  Platonic  device  of  uniting  the  strong 
and  fair  with  the  strong  and  fair,  regardless  of  sentiment  anda 
morality,  nor  yet  by  his  other  device  of  combining  dissimilar 
natures  (Statesman  310  A),  have  mankind  gradually  passed  from 
the  brutality  and  licentiousness  of  primitive  marriage  to  marriage 
Christian  and  civilized. 

Few  persons  would  deny  that  we  bring  into  the  world  an 
inheritance  of  mental  and  physical  qualities  derived  first  from 
our  parents,  or  through  them  from  some  remoter  ancestor, 

The  community  of  wives  and  children.  clxxxix 

secondly  from  our  race,  thirdly  from  the  general  condition  of  INTRODUC- 
mankind  into  which  we  are  born.  Nothing  is  commoner  than 
the  remark,  that  '  So  and  so  is  like  his  father  or  his  uncle ' ; 
and  an  aged  person  may  not  unfrequently  note  a  resemblance 
in  a  youth  to  a  long-forgotten  ancestor,  observing  that  'Nature 
sometimes  skips  a  generation.'  It  may  be  true  also,  that  if  we 
knew  more  about  our  ancestors,  these  similarities  would  be  even 
more  striking  to  us.  Admitting  the  facts  which  are  thus  described 
in  a  popular  way,  we  may  however  remark  that  there  is  no 
method  of  difference  by  which  they  can  be  defined  or  estimated, 
and  that  they  constitute  only  a  small  part  of  each  individual.  The 
doctrine  of  heredity  may  seem  to  take  out  of  our  hands  the  conduct 
of  our  own  lives,  but  it  is  the  idea,  not  the  fact,  which  is  really 
terrible  to  us.  For  what  we  have  received  from  our  ancestors  is 
only  a  fraction  of  what  we  are,  or  may  become.  The  knowledge 
that  drunkenness  or  insanity  has  been  prevalent  in  a  family  may 
be  the  best  safeguard  against  their  recurrence  in  a  future  genera- 
tion. The  parent  will  be  most  awake  to  the  vices  or  diseases 
in  his  child  of  which  he  is  most  sensible  within  himself.  The 
whole  of  life  may  be  directed  to  their  prevention  or  cure.  The 
traces  of  consumption  may  become  fainter,  or  be  wholly  effaced : 
the  inherent  tendency  to  vice  or  crime  may  be  eradicated.  And 
so  heredity,  from  being  a  curse,  may  become  a  blessing.  We 
acknowledge  that  in  the  matter  of  our  birth,  as  in  our  nature 
generally,  there  are  previous  circumstances  which  affect  us.  But 
upon  this  platform  of  circumstances  or  within  this  wall  of  neces- 
sity, we  have  still  the  power  of  creating  a  life  for  ourselves  by  the 
informing  energy  of  the  human  will. 

There  is  another  aspect  of  the  marriage  question  to  which  Plato 
is  a  stranger.  All  the  children  born  in  his  state  are  foundlings. 
It  never  occurred  to  him  that  the  greater  part  of  them,  according 
to  universal  experience,  would  have  perished.  For  children  can 
only  be  brought  up  in  families.  There  is  a  subtle  sympathy 
between  the  mother  and  the  child  which  cannot  be  supplied  by 
other  mothers,  or  by '  strong  nurses  one  or  more '  (Laws  vii.  789  E). 
If  Plato's  'pen'  was  as  fatal  as  the  Creches  of  Paris,  or  the 
foundling  hospital  of  Dublin,  more  than  nine-tenths  of  his  children 
would  have  perished.  There  would  have  been  no  need  to  expose 
or  put  out  of  the  way  the  weaklier  children,  for  they  would  have 

cxc  The  community  of  wives  and  children. 

INTRODUC-   died  of  themselves.    So  emphatically  does  nature  protest  against 
the  destruction  of  the  family. 

What  Plato  had  heard  or  seen  of  Sparta  was  applied  by  him 
in  a  mistaken  way  to  his  ideal  commonwealth.  He  probably 
observed  that  both  the  Spartan  men  and  women  were  superior 
in  form  and  strength  to  the  other  Greeks ;  and  this  superiority 
he  was  disposed  to  attribute  to  the  laws  and  customs  relating 
to  marriage.  He  did  not  consider  that  the  desire  of  a  noble 
offspring  was  a  passion  among  the  Spartans,  or  that  their 
physical  superiority  was  to  be  attributed  chiefly,  not  to  their 
marriage  customs,  but  to  their  temperance  and  training.  He 
did  not  reflect  that  Sparta  was  great,  not  in  consequence  of  the 
relaxation  of  morality,  but  in  spite  of  it,  by  virtue  of  a  political 
principle  stronger  far  than  existed  in  any  other  Grecian  state. 
Least  of  all  did  he  observe  that  Sparta  did  not  really  produce 
the  finest  specimens  of  the  Greek  race.  The  genius,  the  political 
inspiration  of  Athens,  the  love  of  liberty — all  that  has  made 
Greece  famous  with  posterity,  were  wanting  among  the  Spartans. 
They  had  no  Themistocles,  or  Pericles,  or  Aeschylus,  or  Sopho- 
cles, or  Socrates,  or  Plato.  The  individual  was  not  allowed 
to  appear  above  the  state ;  the  laws  were  fixed,  and  he  had  no 
business  to  alter  or  reform  them.  Yet  whence  has  the  progress 
of  cities  and  nations  arisen,  if  not  from  remarkable  individuals, 
coming  into  the  world  we  know  not  how,  and  from  causes  over 
which  we  have  no  control?  Something  too  much  may  have 
been  said  in  modern  times  of  the  value  of  individuality.  But 
we  can  hardly  condemn  too  strongly  a  system  which,  instead  of 
fostering  the  scattered  seeds  or  sparks  of  genius  and  character, 
tends  to  smother  and  extinguish  them. 

Still,  while  condemning  Plato,  we  must  acknowledge  that 
neither  Christianity,  nor  any  other  form  of  religion  and  society, 
has  hitherto  been  able  to  cope  with  this  most  difficult  of  social 
problems,  and  that  the  side  from  which  Plato  regarded  it  is  that 
from  which  we  turn  away.  Population  is  the  most  untameable 
force  in  the  political  and  social  world.  Do  we  not  find,  especi- 
ally in  large  cities,  that  the  greatest  hindrance  to  the  amelioration 
of  the  poor  is  their  improvidence  in  marriage? — a  small  fault 
truly,  if  not  involving  endless  consequences.  There  are  whole 
countries  too,  such  as  India,  or,  nearer  home,  Ireland,  in  which  a 

The  community  of  wives  and  children.  cxci 

right  solution  of  the  marriage  question  seems  to  lie  at  the  founda-  INTRODUC- 
tion  of  the  happiness  of  the  community.  There  are  too  many 
people  on  a  given  space,  or  they  marry  too  early  and  bring 
into  the  world  a  sickly  and  half-developed  offspring;  or  owing 
to  the  very  conditions  of  their  existence,  they  become  emaciated 
and  hand  on  a  similar  life  to  their  descendants.  But  who  can 
oppose  the  voice  of  prudence  to  the  '  mightiest  passions  of  man- 
kind '  (Laws  viii.  835  C),  especially  when  they  have  been  licensed 
by  custom  and  religion  ?  In  addition  to  the  influences  of  educa- 
tion, we  seem  to  require  some  new  principles  of  right  and  wrong 
in  these  matters,  some  force  of  opinion,  which  may  indeed  be 
already  heard  whispering  in  private,  but  has  never  affected  the 
moral  sentiments  of  mankind  in  general.  We  unavoidably  lose 
sight  of  the  principle  of  utility,  just  in  that  action  of  our  lives 
in  which  we  have  the  most  need  of  it.  The  influences  which 
we  can  bring  to  bear  upon  this  question  are  chiefly  indirect. 
In  a  generation  or  two,  education,  emigration,  improvements  in 
agriculture  and  manufactures,  may  have  provided  the  solution. 
The  state  physician  hardly  likes  to  probe  the  wound :  it  is  beyond 
his  art ;  a  matter  which  he  cannot  safely  let  alone,  but  which  he 
dare  not  touch  : 

'  We  do  but  skin  and  film  the  ulcerous  place.' 

When  again  in  private  life  we  see  a  whole  family  one  by  one 
dropping  into  the  grave  under  the  Ate  of  some  inherited  malady, 
and  the  parents  perhaps  surviving  them,  do  our  minds  ever 
go  back  silently  to  that  day  twenty-five  or  thirty  years  before 
on  which  under  the  fairest  auspices,  amid  the  rejoicings  of 
friends  and  acquaintances,  a  bride  and  bridegroom  joined  hands 
with  one  another  ?  In  making  such  a  reflection  we  are  not 
opposing  physical  considerations  to  moral,  but  moral  to  physical ; 
we  are  seeking  to  make  the  voice  of  reason  heard,  which  drives 
us  back  from  the  extravagance  of  sentimentalism  on  common 
sense.  The  late  Dr.  Combe  is  said  by  his  biographer  to  have 
resisted  the  temptation  to  marriage,  because  he  knew  that  he 
was  subject  to  hereditary  consumption.  One  who  deserved  to 
be  called  a  man  of  genius,  a  friend  of  my  youth,  was  in  the  habit 
of  wearing  a  black  ribbon  on  his  wrist,  in  order  to  remind  him 
that,  being  liable  to  outbreaks  of  insanity,  he  must  not  give  way 
to  the  natural  impulses  of  affection :  he  died  unmarried  in  a 

cxcii  The  community  of  wives  and  children. 

INTRODUC-  lunatic  asylum.    These  two  little  facts  suggest  the  reflection  that  a 


very  few  persons  have  done  from  a  sense  of  duty  what  the  rest  of 
mankind  ought  to  have  done  under  like  circumstances,  if  they  had 
allowed  themselves  to  think  of  all  the  misery  which  they  were 
about  to  bring  into  the  world.  If  we  could  prevent  such  mar- 
riages without  any  violation  of  feeling  or  propriety,  we  clearly 
ought ;  and  the  prohibition  in  the  course  of  time  would  be  pro- 
tected by  a  '  horror  naturalis '  similar  to  that  which,  in  all  civilized 
ages  and  countries,  has  prevented  the  marriage  of  near  relations 
by  blood.  Mankind  would  have  been  the  happier,  if  some  things 
which  are  now  allowed  had  from  the  beginning  been  denied  to 
them ;  if  the  sanction  of  religion  could  have  prohibited  practices 
inimical  to  health ;  if  sanitary  principles  could  in  early  ages  have 
been  invested  with  a  superstitious  awe.  But,  living  as  we  do  far 
on  in  the  world's  history,  we  are  no  longer  able  to  stamp  at  once 
with  the  impress  of  religion  a  new  prohibition.  A  free  agent  can- 
not have  his  fancies  regulated  by  law ;  and  the  execution  of  the 
law  would  be  rendered  impossible,  owing  to  the  uncertainty  of 
the  cases  in  which  marriage  was  to  be  forbidden.  Who  can 
weigh  virtue,  or  even  fortune  against  health,  or  moral  and  mental 
qualities  against  bodily  ?  Who  can  measure  probabilities  against 
certainties?  There  has  been  some  good  as  well  as  evil  in  the 
discipline  of  suffering;  and  there  are  diseases,  such  as  con- 
sumption, which  have  exercised  a  refining  and  softening  in- 
fluence on  the  character.  Youth  is  too  inexperienced  to  balance 
such  nice  considerations ;  parents  do  not  often  think  of  them,  or 
think  of  them  too  late.  They  are  at  a  distance  and  may  probably 
be  averted ;  change  of  place,  a  new  state  of  life,  the  interests  of 
a  home  may  be  the  cure  of  them.  So  persons  vainly  reason  when 
their  minds  are  already  made  up  and  their  fortunes  irrevocably 
linked  together.  Nor  is  there  any  ground  for  supposing  that 
marriages  are  to  any  great  extent  influenced  by  reflections  of 
this  sort,  which  seem  unable  to  make  any  head  against  the 
irresistible  impulse  of  individual  attachment. 

Lastly,  no  one  can  have  observed  the  first  rising  flood  of  the 
passions  in  youth,  the  difficulty  of  regulating  them,  and  the 
effects  on  the  whole  mind  and  nature  which  follow  from  them, 
the  stimulus  which  is  given  to  them  by  the  imagination,  without 
feeling  that  there  is  something  unsatisfactory  in  our  method  of 

The  community  of  women  and  children.  cxciii 

treating  them.  That  the  most  important  influence  on  human  life  Republic. 
should  be  wholly  left  to  chance  or  shrouded  in  mystery,  and 
instead  of  being  disciplined  or  understood,  should  be  required  to 
conform  only  to  an  external  standard  of  propriety — cannot  be 
regarded  by  the  philosopher  as  a  safe  or  satisfactory  condition  of 
human  things.  And  still  those  who  have  the  charge  of  youth  may 
find  a  way  by  watchfulness,  by  affection,  by  the  manliness  and 
innocence  of  their  own  lives,  by  occasional  hints,  by  general  admo- 
nitions which  every  one  can  apply  for  himself,  to  mitigate  this 
terrible  evil  which  eats  out  the  heart  of  individuals  and  corrupts 
the  moral  sentiments  of  nations.  In  no  duty  towards  others  is 
there  more  need  of  reticence  and  self-restraint.  So  great  is  the 
danger  lest  he  who  would  be  the  counsellor  of  another  should 
reveal  the  secret  prematurely,  lest  he  should  get  another  too  much 
into  his  power,  or  fix  the  passing  impression  of  evil  by  demanding 
the  confession  of  it. 

Nor  is  Plato  wrong  in  asserting  that  family  attachments  may 
interfere  with  higher  aims.  If  there  have  been  some  who  'to 
party  gave  up  what  was  meant  for  mankind/  there  have  cer- 
tainly been  others  who  to  family  gave  up  what  was  meant  for 
mankind  or  for  their  country.  The  cares  of  children,  the 
necessity  of  procuring  money  for  their  support,  the  flatteries 
of  the  rich  by  the  poor,  the  exclusiveness  of  caste,  the  pride 
of  birth  or  wealth,  the  tendency  of  family  life*  to  divert  men 
from  the  pursuit  of  the  ideal  or  the  heroic,  are  as  lowering  in 
our  own  age  as  in  that  of  Plato.  And  if  we  prefer  to  look  at 
the  gentle  influences  of  home,  the  development  of  the  affections, 
the  amenities  of  society,  the  devotion  of  one  member  of  a  family 
for  the  good  of  the  others,  which  form  one  side  of  the  picture, 
we  must  not  quarrel  with  him,  or  perhaps  ought  rather  to  be 
grateful  to  him,  for  having  presented  to  us  the  reverse.  Without 
attempting  to  defend  Plato  on  grounds  of  morality,  we  may  allow 
that  there  is  an  aspect  of  the  world  which  has  not  unnaturally 
led  him  into  error. 

We  hardly  appreciate  the  power  which  the  idea  of  the  State, 
like  all  other  abstract  ideas,  exercised  over  the  mind  of  Plato. 
To  us  the  State  seems  to  be  built  up  out  of  the  family,  or  some- 
times to  be  the  framework  in  which  family  and  social  life  is 
contained.  But  to  Plato  in  his  present  mood  of  mind  the  family 


cxciv  The  government  of  philosophers. 

Republic,  is  only  a  disturbing  influence  which,  instead  of  filling  up,  tends 
to  disarrange  tne  higher  unity  of  the  State.  No  organization 
is  needed  except  a  political,  which,  regarded  from  another  point 
of  view,  is  a  military  one.  The  State  is  all-sufficing  for  the  wants 
of  man,  and,  like  the  idea  of  the  Church  in  later  ages,  absorbs  all 
other  desires  and  aifections.  In  time  of  war  the  thousand  citizens 
are  to  stand  like  a  rampart  impregnable  against  the  world  or  the 
Persian  host ;  in  time  of  peace  the  preparation  for  war  and  their 
duties  to  the  State,  which  are  also  their  duties  to  one  another, 
take  up  their  whole  life  and  time.  The  only  other  interest  which 
is  allowed  to  them  besides  that  of  war,  is  the  interest  of  philo- 
sophy. When  they  are  too  old  to  be  soldiers  they  are  to  retire 
from  active  life  and  to  have  a  second  novitiate  of  study  and 
contemplation.  There  is  an  element  of  monasticism  even  in 
Plato's  communism.  If  he  could  have  done  without  children, 
he  might  have  converted  his  Republic  into  a  religious  order. 
Neither  in  the  Laws  (v.  739  B),  when  the  daylight  of  common 
sense  breaks  in  upon  him,  does  he  retract  his  error.  In  the 
state  of  which  he  would  be  the  founder,  there  is  no  marrying 
or  giving  in  marriage  :  but  because  of  the  infirmity  of  mankind, 
he  condescends  to  allow  the  law  of  nature  to  prevail. 

(y)  But  Plato  has  an  equal,  or,  in  his  own  estimation,  even 
greater  paradox  in  reserve,  which  is  summed  up  in  the  famous 
text,  'Until  kings  are  philosophers  or  philosophers  are  kings, 
cities  will  never  cease  from  ill.'  And  by  philosophers  he  explains 
himself  to  mean  those  who  are  capable  of  apprehending  ideas, 
especially  the  idea  of  good.  To  the  attainment  of  this  higher 
knowledge  the  second  education  is  directed.  Through  a  process 
of  training  which  has  already  made  them  good  citizens  they 
are  now  to  be  made  good  legislators.  We  find  with  some  sur- 
prise (not  unlike  the  feeling  which  Aristotle  in  a  well-known 
passage  describes  the  hearers  of  Plato's  lectures  as  experiencing, 
when  they  went  to  a  discourse  on  the  idea  of  good,  expecting 
to  be  instructed  in  moral  truths,  and  received  instead  of  them 
arithmetical  and  mathematical  formulae)  that  Plato  does  not 
propose  for  his  future  legislators  any  study  of  finance  or  law 
or  military  tactics,  but  only  of  abstract  mathematics,  as  a  pre- 
paration for  the  still  more  abstract  conception  of  good.  We  ask, 
with  Aristotle,  What  is  the  use  of  a  man  knowing  the  idea  of 

The  government  of  philosophers.  cxcv 

good,  if  he  does  not  know  what  is  good  for  this  individual,  Republic. 
this  state,  this  condition  of  society  ?  We  cannot  understand 
how  Plato's  legislators  or  guardians  are  to  be  fitted  for  their 
work  of  statesmen  by  the  study  of  the  five  mathematical  sciences. 
We  vainly  search  in  Plato's  own  writings  for  any  explanation 
of  this  seeming  absurdity. 

The  discovery  of  a  great  metaphysical  conception  seems  to 
ravish  the  mind  with  a  prophetic  consciousness  which  takes 
away  the  power  of  estimating  its  value.  No  metaphysical  en- 
quirer has  ever  fairly  criticised  his  own  speculations;  in  his 
own  judgment  they  have  been  above  criticism;  nor  has  he 
understood  that  what  to  him  seemed  to  be  absolute  truth  may 
reappear  in  the  next  generation  as  a  form  of  logic  or  an  in- 
strument of  thought.  And  posterity  have  also  sometimes  equally 
misapprehended  the  real  value  of  his  speculations.  They  appear 
to  them  to  have  contributed  nothing  to  the  stock  of  human 
knowledge.  The  idea  of  good  is  apt  to  be  regarded  by  the 
modern  thinker  as  an  unmeaning  abstraction  ;  but  he  forgets 
that  this  abstraction  is  waiting  ready  for  use,  and  will  hereafter 
be  filled  up  by  the  divisions  of  knowledge.  When  mankind  do 
not  as  yet  know  that  the  world  is  subject  to  law,  the  introduc- 
tion of  the  mere  conception  of  law  or  design  or  final  cause,  and 
the  far-off  anticipation  of  the  harmony  of  knowledge,  are  great 
steps  onward.  Even  the  crude  generalization  of  the  unity  of 
all  things  leads  men  to  view  the  world  with  different  eyes,  and 
may  easily  affect  their  conception  of  human  life  and  of  politics, 
and  also  their  own  conduct  and  character  (Tim.  90  A).1  We  can 
imagine  how  a  great  mind  like  that  of  Pericles  might  derive 
elevation  from  his  intercourse  with  Anaxagoras  (Phaedr.  270  A). 
To  be  struggling  towards  a  higher  but  unattainable  conception 
is  a  more  favourable  intellectual  condition  than  to  rest  satisfied 
in  a  narrow  portion  of  ascertained  fact.  And  the  earlier,  which 
have  sometimes  been  the  greater  ideas  of  science,  are  often 
lost  sight  of  at  a  later  period.  How  rarely  can  we  say  of  any 
modern  enquirer  in  the  magnificent  language  of  Plato,  that 
*  He  is  the  spectator  of  all  time  and  of  all  existence ! ' 

Nor  is  there  anything  unnatural  in  the  hasty  application  of 
these  vast  metaphysical  conceptions  to  practical  and  political 
life.  In  the  first  enthusiasm  of  ideas  men  are  apt  to  see  them 


cxcvi  The  government  of  philosophers. 

Republic,  everywhere,  and  to  apply  them  in  the  most    remote    sphere. 

INTRODUC-  They  do  not  understand  that  the  experience  of  ages  is  required 
to  enable  them  to  fill  up  '  the  intermediate  axioms.'  Plato  him- 
self seems  to  have  imagined  that  the  truths  of  psychology,  like 
those  of  astronomy  and  harmonics,  would  be  arrived  at  by  a 
process  of  deduction,  and  that  the  method  which  he  has  pur- 
sued in  the  Fourth  Book,  of  inferring  them  from  experience 
and  the  use  of  language,  was  imperfect  and  only  provisional. 
But  when,  after  having  arrived  at  the  idea  of  good,  which  is  the 
end  of  the  science  of  dialectic,  he  is  asked,  What  is  the  nature,  and 
what  are  the  divisions  of  the  science  ?  he  refuses  to  answer,  as 
if  intending  by  the  refusal  to  intimate  that  the  state  of  knowledge 
which  then  existed  was  not  such  as  would  allow  the  philo- 
sopher to  enter  into  his  final  rest.  The  previous  sciences  must 
first  be  studied,  and  will,  we  may  add,  continue  to  be  studied 
till  the  end  of  time,  although  in  a  sense  different  from  any 
^vhich  Plato  could  have  conceived.  But  we  may  observe, 
that  while  he  is  aware  of  the  vacancy  of  his  own  ideal,  he  is 
full  of  enthusiasm  in  the  contemplation  of  it.  Looking  into  the 
orb  of  light,  he  sees  nothing,  but  he  is  warmed  and  elevated. 
The  Hebrew  prophet  believed  that  faith  in  God  would  enable 
him  to  govern  the  world ;  the  Greek  philosopher  imagined 
that  contemplation  of  the  good  would  make  a  legislator.  There 
is  as  much  to  be  filled  up  in  the  one  case  as  in  the  other,  and 
the  one  mode  of  conception  is  to  the  Israelite  what  the  other 
is  to  the  Greek.  Both  find  a  repose  in  a  divine  perfection, 
which,  whether  in  a  more  personal  or  impersonal  form,  exists 
without  them  and  independently  of  them,  as  well  as  within 

There  is  no  mention  of  the  idea  of  good  in  the  Timaeus,  nor 
of  the  divine  Creator  of  the  world  in  the  Republic ;  and  we  are 
naturally  led  to  ask  in  what  relation  they  stand  to  one  another. 
Is  God  above  or  below  the  idea  of  good  ?  Or  is  the  Idea  of 
Good  another  mode  of  conceiving  God  ?  The  latter  appears  to  be 
the  truer  answer.  To  the  Greek  philosopher  the  perfection 
and  unity  of  God  was  a  far  higher  conception  than  his  person- 
ality, which  he  hardly  found  a  word  to  express,  and  which  to 
him  would  have  seemed  to  be  borrowed  from  mythology.  To 
the  Christian,  on  the  other  hand,  or  to  the  modern  thinker  in 

The  government  of  philosophers.  cxcvii 

general,  it    is  difficult,  if  not  impossible,  to  attach    reality  td  Republic. 
what  he  terms  mere  abstraction  ;    while  to  Plato  this  very  ab-   INTTRJ^UC" 
straction  is  the  truest  and  most  real  of  all  things.    Hence,  from 
a  difference   in  forms  of  thought,  Plato  appears  to  be  resting 
on  a  creation  of  his  own  mind  only.     But  if  we  may  be  allowed 
to  paraphrase  the  idea  of  good  by  the  words  'intelligent  prin- 
ciple of  law  and  order  in  the  universe,  embracing  equally  man 
and  nature/  we  begin  to  find  a  meeting-point  between  him  and 

The  question  whether  the  ruler  or  statesman  should  be  a 
philosopher  is  one  that  has  not  lost  interest  in  modern  times. 
In  most  countries  of  Europe  and  Asia  there  has  been  some  one 
in  the  course  of  ages  who  has  truly  united  the  power  of  com- 
mand with  the  power  of  thought  and  reflection,  as  there  have 
been  also  many  false  combinations  of  these  qualities.  Some 
kind  of  speculative  power  is  necessary  both  in  practical  and 
political  life ;  like  the  rhetorician  in  the  Phaedrus,  men  require 
to  have  a  conception  of  the  varieties  of  human  character,  and 
to  be  raised  on  great  occasions  above  the  commonplaces  of 
ordinary  life.  Yet  the  idea  of  the  philosopher-statesman  has 
never  been  popular  with  the  mass  of  mankind ;  partly  because 
he  cannot  take  the  world  into  his  confidence  or  make  them 
understand  the  motives  from  which  he  acts;  and  also  because 
they  are  jealous  of  a  power  which  they  do  not  understand. 
The  revolution  which  human  nature  desires  to  effect  step  by 
step  in  many  ages  is  likely  to  be  precipitated  by  him  in  a  single 
year  or  life.  They  are  afraid  that  in  the  pursuit  of  his  greater 
aims  he  may  disregard  the  common  feelings  of  humanity.  He 
is  too  apt  to  be  looking  into  the  distant  future  or  back  into  the 
remote  past,  and  unable  to  see  actions  or  events  which,  to  use 
an  expression  of  Plato's,  '  are  tumbling  out  at  his  feet.'  Besides, 
as  Plato  would  say,  there  are  other  corruptions  of  these  philo- 
sophical statesmen.  Either  'the  native  hue  of  resolution  is 
sicklied  o'er  with  the  pale  cast  of  thought,'  and  at  the  moment 
when  action  above  all  things  is  required  he  is  undecided,  or 
general  principles  are  enunciated  by  him  in  order  to  cover 
some  change  of  policy ;  or  his  ignorance  of  the  world  has 
made  him  more  easily  fall  a  prey  to  the  arts  of  others ;  or  in 
some  cases  he  has  been  converted  into  a  courtier,  who  enjoys 

cxcviii  The  government  of  philosophers. 

Republic,  the  luxury  of  holding  liberal  opinions,  but  was  never  known  to 
Perf°rm  a  liberal  action.  No  wonder  that  mankind  have  been  in 
the  habit  of  calling  statesmen  of  this  class  pedants,  sophisters, 
doctrinaires,  visionaries.  For,  as  we  may  be  allowed  to  say,  a 
little  parodying  the  words  of  Plato,  '  they  have  seen  bad  imitations 
of  the  philosopher-statesman.'  But  a  man  in  whom  the  power 
of  thought  and  action  are  perfectly  balanced,  equal  to  the  pre- 
sent, reaching  forward  to  the  future,  'such  a  one/  ruling  in  a 
constitutional  state, '  they  have  never  seen.' 

But  as  the  philosopher  is  apt  to  fail  in  the  routine  of  political 
life,  so  the  ordinary  statesman  is  also  apt  to  fail  in  extraordinary 
crises.  When  the  face  of  the  world  is  beginning  to  alter,  and 
thunder  is  heard  in  the  distance,  he  is  still  guided  by  his  old 
maxims,  and  is  the  slave  of  his  inveterate  party  prejudices ;  he 
cannot  perceive  the  signs  of  the  times;  instead  of  looking  for- 
ward he  looks  back ;  he  learns  nothing  and  forgets  nothing ; 
with  '  wise  saws  and  modern  instances '  he  would  stem  the 
rising  tide  of  revolution.  He  lives  more  and  more  within  the 
circle  of  his  own  party,  as  the  world  without  him  becomes 
stronger.  This  seems  to  be  the  reason  why  the  old  order  of 
things  makes  so  poor  a  figure  when  confronted  with  the  new, 
why  churches  can  never  reform,  why  most  political  changes 
are  made  blindly  and  convulsively.  The  great  crises  in  the 
history  of  nations  have  often  been  met  by  an  ecclesiastical 
positiveness,  and  a  more  obstinate  reassertion  of  principles 
which  have  lost  their  hold  upon  a  nation.  The  fixed  ideas  of 
a  reactionary  statesman  may  be  compared  to  madness ;  they  grow 
upon  him,  and  he  becomes  possessed  by  them  ;  no  judgement  of 
others  is  ever  admitted  by  him  to  be  weighed  in  the  balance 
against  his  own. 

(5)  Plato,  labouring  under  what,  to  modern  readers,  appears 
to  have  been  a  confusion  of  ideas,  assimilates  the  state  to  the 
individual,  and  fails  to  distinguish  Ethics  from  Politics.  He 
thinks  that  to  be  most  of  a  state  which  is  most  like  one 
man,  and  in  which  the  citizens  have  the  greatest  uniformity  of 
character.  He  does  not  see  that  the  analogy  is  partly  fal- 
lacious, and  that  the  will  or  character  of  a  state  or  nation  is 
really  the  balance  or  rather  the  surplus  of  individual  wills, 
which  are  limited  by  the  condition  of  having  to  act  in  common. 

The  State  and  the  Individual.  cxcix 

The  movement  of  a  body  of  men  can  never  have  the  pliancy  Republic. 
or  facility  of  a  single  man  ;  the  freedom  of  the  individual,  which    INTRODUC- 


is  always  limited,  becomes  still  more  straitened  when  transferred 
to  a  nation.  The  powers  of  action  and  feeling  are  necessarily 
weaker  and  more  balanced  when  they  are  diffused  through 
a  community ;  whence  arises  the  often  discussed  question,  '  Can 
a  nation,  like  an  individual,  have  a  conscience?'  We  hesitate 
to  say  that  the  characters  of  nations  are  nothing  more  than 
the  sum  of  the  characters  of  the  individuals  who  compose 
them ;  because  there  may  be  tendencies  in  individuals  which 
react  upon  one  another.  A  whole  nation  may  be  wiser  than  any 
one  man  in  it ;  or  may  be  animated  by  some  common  opinion 
or  feeling  which  could  not  equally  have  affected  the  mind  of  a 
single  person,  or  may  have  been  inspired  by  a  leader  of  genius  to 
perform  acts  more  than  human.  Plato  does  not  appear  to  have 
analysed  the  complications  which  arise  out  of  the  collective 
action  of  mankind.  Neither  is  he  capable  of  seeing  that  analo- 
gies, though  epecious  as  arguments,  may  often  have  no  founda- 
tion in  fact,  or  of  distinguishing  between  what  is  intelligible 
or  vividly  present  to  the  mind,  and  what  is  true.  In  this  respect 
he  is  far  below  Aristotle,  who  is  comparatively  seldom  imposed 
upon  by  false  analogies.  He  cannot  disentangle  the  arts  from 
the  virtues  —  at  least  he  is  always  arguing  from  one  to  the 
other.  His  notion  of  music  is  transferred  from  harmony  of 
sounds  to  harmony  of  life:  in  this  he  is  assisted  by  the  am- 
biguities of  language  as  well  as  by  the  prevalence  of  Pythagorean 
notions.  And  having  once  assimilated  the  state  to  the  individual, 
he  imagines  that  he  will  find  the  succession  of  states  paralleled 
in  the  lives  of  individuals. 

Still,  through  this  fallacious  medium,  a  real  enlargement  of 
ideas  is  attained.  When  the  virtues  as  yet  presented  no  distinct 
conception  to  the  mind,  a  great  advance  was  made  by  the  com- 
parison of  them  with  the  arts ;  for  virtue  is  partly  art,  and  has 
an  outward  form  as  well  as  an  inward  principle.  The  harmony 
of  music  affords  a  lively  image  of  the  harmonies  of  the  world  and 
of  human  life,  and  may  be  regarded  as  a  splendid  illustration 
which  was  naturally  mistaken  for  a  real  analogy.  In  the  same 
way  the  identification  of  ethics  with  politics  has  a  tendency  to 
give  definiteness  to  ethics,  and  also  to  elevate  and  ennoble  men's 

cc  The  Education  of  the  Republic. 

Republic,   notions  of  the  aims  of  government  and  of  the  duties  of  citizens ; 

IN  TION  U°  *°r  ethics  fr°m  one  point  of  view  may  be  conceived  as  an  idealized 
law  and  politics ;  and  politics,  as  ethics  reduced  to  the  conditions 
of  human  society.  There  have  been  evils  which  have  arisen 
out  of  the  attempt  to  identify  them,  and  this  has  led  to  the 
separation  or  antagonism  of  them,  which  has  been  introduced 
by  modern  political  writers.  But  we  may  likewise  feel  that 
something  has  been  lost  in  their  separation,  and  that  the 
ancient  philosophers  who  estimated  the  moral  and  intellectual 
wellbeing  of  mankind  first,  and  the  wealth  of  nations  and  indi- 
viduals second,  may  have  a  salutary  influence  on  the  speculations 
of  modern  times.  Many  political  maxims  originate  in  a  reaction 
against  an  opposite  error;  and  when  the  errors  against  which 
they  were  directed  have  passed  away,  they  in  turn  become 

III.  Plato's  views  of  education  are  in  several  respects  re- 
markable; like  the  rest  of  the  Republic  they  are  partly  Greek 
and  partly  ideal,  beginning  with  the  ordinary  curriculum  of  the 
Greek  youth,  and  extending  to  after-life.  Plato  is  the  first  writer 
who  distinctly  says  that  education  is  to  comprehend  the  whole 
of  life,  and  to  be  a  preparation  for  another  in  which  education 
begins  again  (vi.  4980).  This  is  the  continuous  thread  which 
runs  through  the  Republic,  and  which  more  than  any  other  of 
his  ideas  admits  of  an  application  to  modern  life. 

He  has  long  given  up  the  notion  that  virtue  cannot  be  taught ; 
and  he  is  disposed  to  modify  the  thesis  of  the  Protagoras,  that 
the  virtues  are  one  and  not  many.  He  is  not  unwilling  to 
admit  the  sensible  world  into  his  scheme  of  truth.  Nor  does 
he  assert  in  the  Republic  the  involuntariness  of  vice,  which 
is  maintained  by  him  in  the  Timaeus,  Sophist,  and  Laws 
(cp.  Protag.  345  foil.,  352,  355;  Apol.  25  E;  Gorg.  468,  509  E). 
Nor  do  the  so-called  Platonic  ideas  recovered  from  a  former 
state  of  existence  affect  his  theory  of  mental  improvement.  Still 
we  observe  in  him  the  remains  of  the  old  Socratic  doctrine,  that 
true  knowledge  must  be  elicited  from  within,  and  is  to  be  sought 
for  in  ideas,  not  in  particulars  of  sense.  Education,  as  he  says, 
will  implant  a  principle  of  intelligence  which  is  better  than  ten 

The  Education  of  the  Republic.  cci 

thousand  eyes.  The  paradox  that  the  virtues  are  one,  and  the  Republic. 
kindred  notion  that  all  virtue  is  knowledge,  are  not  entirely  re- 
nounced ;  the  first  is  seen  in  the  supremacy  given  to  justice  over 
the  rest ;  the  second  in  the  tendency  to  absorb  the  moral  virtues 
in  the  intellectual,  and  to  centre  all  goodness  in  the  contemplation 
of  the  idea  of  good.  The  world  of  sense  is  still  depreciated  and 
identified  with  opinion,  though  admitted  to  be  a  shadow  of  the 
true.  In  the  Republic  he  is  evidently  impressed  with  the  con- 
viction that  vice  arises  chiefly  from  ignorance  and  may  be  cured 
by  education  ;  the  multitude  are  hardly  to  be  deemed  responsible 
for  what  they  do  (v.  499  E).  A  faint  allusion  to  the  doctrine  of 
reminiscence  occurs  in  the  Tenth  Book  (621  A) ;  but  Plato's  views 
of  education  have  no  more  real  connection  with  a  previous  state 
of  existence  than  our  own ;  he  only  proposes  to  elicit  from  the 
mind  that  which  is  there  already.  Education  is  represented  by 
him,  not  as  the  filling  of  a  vessel,  but  as  the  turning  the  eye  of 
the  soul  towards  the  light. 

He  treats  first  of  music  or  literature,  which  he  divides  into  true 
and  false,  and  then  goes  on  to  gymnastics;  of  infancy  in  the 
Republic  he  takes  no  notice,  though  in  the  Laws  he  gives  sage 
counsels  about  the  nursing  of  children  and  the  management  of 
the  mothers,  and  would  have  an  education  which  is  even  prior  to 
birth.  But  in  the  Republic  he  begins  with  the  age  at  which  the 
child  is  capable  of  receiving  ideas,  and  boldly  asserts,  in  language 
which  sounds  paradoxical  to  modern  ears,  that  he  must  be  taught 
the  false  before  he  can  learn  the  true.  The  modern  and  ancient 
philosophical  world  are  not  agreed  about  truth  and  falsehood  ;  the 
one  identifies  truth  almost  exclusively  with  fact,  the  other  with 
ideas.  This  is  the  difference  between  ourselves  and  Plato,  which 
is,  however,  partly  a  difference  of  words  (cp.  supra,  p.  xxxviii).  For 
we  too  should  admit  that  a  child  must  receive  many  lessons  which 
he  imperfectly  understands ;  he  must  be  taught  some  things  in  a 
figure  only,  some  too  which  he  can  hardly  be  expected  to  believe 
when  he  grows  older ;  but  we  should  limit  the  use  of  fiction  by  the 
necessity  of  the  case.  Plato  would  draw  the  line  differently  \ 
according  to  him  the  aim  of  early  education  is  not  truth  as  a  matter 
of  fact,  but  truth  as  a  matter  of  principle  ;  the  child  is  to  be  taught 
first  simple  religious  truths,  and  then  simple  moral  truths,  and 
insensibly  to  learn  the  lesson  of  good  manners  and  good  taste.  He 

ccii  The  Education  of  the  Republic. 

Republic,  would  make  an  entire  reformation  of  the  old  mythology;  like 
"  Xenophanes  and  Heracleitus  he  is  sensible  of  the  deep  chasm 
which  separates  his  own  age  from  Homer  and  Hesiod,  whom  he 
quotes  and  invests  with  an  imaginary  authority,  but  only  for  his 
own  purposes.  The  lusts  and  treacheries  of  the  gods  are  to  be 
banished  ;  the  terrors  of  the  world  below  are  to  be  dispelled  ;  the 
misbehaviour  of  the  Homeric  heroes  is  not  to  be  a  model  for 
youth.  But  there  is  another  strain  heard  in  Homer  which  may 
teach  our  youth  endurance;  and  something  may  be  learnt  in 
medicine  from  the  simple  practice  of  the  Homeric  age.  The 
principles  on  which  religion  is  to  be  based  are  two  only :  first,  that 
God  is  true ;  secondly,  that  he  is  good.  Modern  and  Christian 
writers  have  often  fallen  short  of  these  ;  they  can  hardly  be  said 
to  have  gone  beyond  them. 

The  young  are  to  be  brought  up  in  happy  surroundings,  out  of 
the  way  of  sights  or  sounds  which  may  hurt  the  character  or 
vitiate  the  taste.  They  are  to  live  in  an  atmosphere  of  health  ;  the 
breeze  is  always  to  be  wafting  to  them  the  impressions  of  truth 
and  goodness.  Could  such  an  education  be  realized,  or  if  our 
modern  religious  education  could  be  bound  up  with  truth  and 
virtue  and  good  manners  and  good  taste,  that  would  be  the  best 
hope  of  human  improvement.  Plato,  like  ourselves,  is  looking 
forward  to  changes  in  the  moral  and  religious  world,  and  is  pre- 
paring for  them.  He  recognizes  the  danger  of  unsettling  young 
men's  minds  by  sudden  changes  of  laws  and  principles,  by  destroy- 
ing the  sacredness  of  one  set  of  ideas  when  there  is  nothing  else  to 
take  their  place.  He  is  afraid  too  of  the  influence  of  the  drama, 
on  the  ground  that  it  encourages  false  sentiment,  and  therefore  he 
would  not  have  his  children  taken  to  the  theatre ;  he  thinks  that 
the  effect  on  the  spectators  is  bad,  and  on  the  actors  still  worse. 
His  idea  of  education  is  that  of  harmonious  growth,  in  which  are 
insensibly  learnt  the  lessons  of  temperance  and  endurance,  and 
the  body  and  mind  develope  in  equal  proportions.  The  first  prin- 
ciple which  runs  through  all  art  and  nature  is  simplicity;  this 
also  is  to  be  the  rule  of  human  life. 

The  second  stage  of  education  is  gymnastic,  which  answers  to 
the  period  of  muscular  growth  and  development.  The  simplicity 
which  is  enforced  in  music  is  extended  to  gymnastic ;  Plato  is 
aware  that  the  training  of  the  body  may  be  inconsistent  with  the 

The  Education  of  the  Repiiblic.  cciii 

training  of  the  mind,  and  that  bodily  exercise  may  be  easily  over-  Republic. 
done.  Excessive  training  of  the  body  is  apt  to  give  men  a  headache 
or  to  render  them  sleepy  at  a  lecture  on  philosophy,  and  this  they 
attribute  not  to  the  true  cause,  but  to  the  nature  of  the  subject. 
Two  points  are  noticeable  in  Plato's  treatment  of  gymnastic  :— 
First,  that  the  time  of  training  is  entirely  separated  from  the  time 
of  literary  education.  He  seems  to  have  thought  that  two  things 
of  an  opposite  and  different  nature  could  not  be  learnt  at  the  same 
time.  Here  we  can  hardly  agree  with  him ;  and,  if  we  may  judge  by 
experience,  the  effect  of  spending  three  years  between  the  ages  of 
fourteen  and  seventeen  in  mere  bodily  exercise  would  be  far  from 
improving  to  the  intellect.  Secondly,  he  affirms  that  music  and 
gymnastic  are  not,  as  common  opinion  is  apt  to  imagine,  intended, 
the  one  for  the  cultivation  of  the  mind  and  the  other  of  the  body, 
but  that  they  are  both  equally  designed  for  the  improvement  of  the 
mind.  The  body,  in  his  view,  is  the  servant  of  the  mind ;  the 
subjection  of  the  lower  to  the  higher  is  for  the  advantage  of  both. 
And  doubtless  the  mind  may  exercise  a  very  great  and  paramount 
influence  over  the  body,  if  exerted  not  at  particular  moments  and 
by  fits  and  starts,  but  continuously,  in  making  preparation  for  the 
whole  of  life.  Other  Greek  writers  saw  the  mischievous  tendency 
of  Spartan  discipline  (Arist.  Pol.  viii.  4,  §  i  foil. ;  Thuc.  ii.  37,  39). 
But  only  Plato  recognized  the  fundamental  error  on  which  the 
practice  was  based. 

The  subject  of  gymnastic  leads  Plato  to  the  sister  subject  of 
medicine,  which  he  further  illustrates  by  the  parallel  of  law. 
The  modern  disbelief  in  medicine  has  led  in  this,  as  in  some  other 
departments  of  knowledge,  to  a  demand  for  greater  simplicity ; 
physicians  are  becoming  aware  that  they  often  make  diseases 
*  greater  and  more  complicated '  by  their  treatment  of  them 
(Rep.  iv.  426  A).  In  two  thousand  years  their  art  has  made  but 
slender  progress ;  what  they  have  gained  in  the  analysis  of  the 
parts  is  in  a  great  degree  lost  by  their  feebler  conception  of  the 
human  frame  as  a  whole.  They  have  attended  more  to  the  cure 
of  diseases  than  to  the  conditions  of  health  ;  and  the  improvements 
in  medicine  have  been  more  than  counterbalanced  by  the  disuse 
of  regular  training.  Until  lately  they  have  hardly  thought  of  air 
and  water,  the  importance  of  which  was  well  understood  by  the 
ancients ;  as  Aristotle  remarks,  'Air  and  water,  being  the  elements 

cciv  The  Education  of  the  Republic, 

Republic,  which  we  most  use,  have  the  greatest  effect  upon  health '  (Polit. 
vii-  IT>  §  4)-  For  aSes  physicians  have  been  under  the  dominion  of 
prejudices  which  have  only  recently  given  way ;  and  now  there 
are  as  many  opinions  in  medicine  as  in  theology,  and  an  equal 
degree  of  scepticism  and  some  want  of  toleration  about  both.  Plato 
has  several  good  notions  about  medicine ;  according  to  him,  'the 
eye  cannot  be  cured  without  the  rest  of  the  body,  nor  the  body 
without  the  mind '  (Charm.  156  E).  No  man  of  sense,  he  says  in 
the  Timaeus,  would  take  physic ;  and  we  heartily  sympathize  with 
him  in  the  Laws  when  he  declares  that  '  the  limbs  of  the  rustic 
worn  with  toil  will  derive  more  benefit  from  warm  baths  than  from 
the  prescriptions  of  a  not  over  wise  doctor '  (vi.  761 C).  But  we 
can  hardly  praise  him  when,  in  obedience  to  the  authority  of 
Homer,  he  depreciates  diet,  or  approve  of  the  inhuman  spirit  in 
which  he  would  get  rid  of  invalid  and  useless  lives  by  leaving 
them  to  die.  He  does  not  seem  to  have  considered  that  the  '  bridle 
of  Theages '  might  be  accompanied  by  qualities  which  were  of  far 
more  value  to  the  State  than  the  health  or  strength  of  the  citizens ; 
or  that  the  duty  of  taking  care  of  the  helpless  might  be  an  important 
element  of  education  in  a  State.  The  physician  himself  (this  is 
a  delicate  and  subtle  observation)  should  not  be  a  man  in  robust 
health  ;  he  should  have,  in  modern  phraseology,  a  nervous  tem- 
perament ;  he  should  have  experience  of  disease  in  his  own  person, 
in  order  that  his  powers  of  observation  may  be  quickened  in  the 
case  of  others. 

The  perplexity  of  medicine  is  paralleled  by  the  perplexity  of 
law ;  in  which,  again,  Plato  would  have  men  follow  the  golden  rule 
of  simplicity.  Greater  matters  are  to  be  determined  by  the 
legislator  or  by  the  oracle  of  Delphi,  lesser  matters  are  to  be  left 
to  the  temporary  regulation  of  the  citizens  themselves.  Plato  is 
aware  that  laissez  faire  is  an  important  element  of  government. 
The  diseases  of  a  State  are  like  the  heads  of  a  hydra;  they 
multiply  when  they  are  cut  off.  The  true  remedy  for  them  is  not 
extirpation  but  prevention.  And  the  way  to  prevent  them  is  to 
take  care  of  education,  and  education  will  take  care  of  all  the  rest. 
So  in  modern  times  men  have  often  felt  that  the  only  political 
measure  worth  having— the  only  one  which  would  produce  any 
certain  or  lasting  effect,  was  a  measure  of  national  education.  And 
in  our  own  more  than  in  any  previous  age  the  necessity  has  been 

The  Education  of  the  Republic.  ccv 

recognized  of  restoring  the  ever-increasing  confusion  of  law  to  Republic. 
simplicity  and  common  sense.  INTRODUC- 

When  the  training  in  music  and  gymnastic  is  completed,  there 
follows  the  first  stage  of  active  and  public  life.  But  soon  education 
is  to  begin  again  from  a  new  point  of  view.  In  the  interval 
between  the  Fourth  and  Seventh  Books  we  have  discussed  the 
nature  of  knowledge,  and  have  thence  been  led  to  form  a  higher 
conception  of  what  was  required  of  us.  For  true  knowledge, 
according  to  Plato,  is  of  abstractions,  and  has  to  do,  not  with 
particulars  or  individuals,  but  with  universals  only ;  not  with  the 
beauties  of  poetry,  but  with  the  ideas  of  philosophy.  And  the 
great  aim  of  education  is  the  cultivation  of  the  habit  of  abstraction. 
This  is  to  be  acquired  through  the  study  of  the  mathematical 
sciences.  They  alone  are  capable  of  giving  ideas  of  relation,  and 
of  arousing  the  dormant  energies  of  thought. 

Mathematics  in  the  age  of  Plato  comprehended  a  very  small  part 
of  that  which  is  now  included  in  them ;  but  they  bore  a  much 
larger  proportion  to  the  sum  of  human  knowledge.  They  were 
the  only  organon  of  thought  which  the  human  mind  at  that  time 
possessed,  and  the  only  measure  by  which  the  chaos  of  particulars 
could  be  reduced  to  rule  and  order.  The  faculty  which  they 
trained  was  naturally  at  war  with  the  poetical  or  imaginative  ;  and 
hence  to  Plato,  who  is  everywhere  seeking  for  abstractions  and 
trying  to  get  rid  of  the  illusions  of  sense,  nearly  the  whole  of  edu- 
cation is  contained  in  them.  They  seemed  to  have  an  inexhaustible 
application,  partly  because  their  true  limits  were  not  yet  under- 
stood. These  Plato  himself  is  beginning  to  investigate ;  though 
not  aware  that  number  and  figure  are  mere  abstractions  of  sense, 
he  recognizes  that  the  forms  used  by  geometry  are  borrowed 
from  the  sensible  world  (vi.  510,  511).  He  seeks  to  find  the 
ultimate  ground  of  mathematical  ideas  in  the  idea  of  good,  though 
he  does  not  satisfactorily  explain  the  connexion  between  them; 
and  in  his  conception  of  the  relation  of  ideas  to  numbers,  he  falls 
very  far  short  of  the  definiteness  attributed  to  him  by  Aristotle 
(Met.  i.  8,  §  24 ;  ix.  17).  But  if  he  fails  to  recognize  the  true  limits 
of  mathematics,  he  also  reaches  a  point  beyond  them ;  in  his  view, 
ideas  of  number  become  secondary  to  a  higher  conception  of 
knowledge.  The  dialectician  is  as  much  above  the  mathematician 
as  the  mathematician  is  above  the  ordinary  man  (cp.  vii.  526  D, 

ccvi  The  Idea  of  Good. 

Republic.  531  E).  The  one,  the  self-proving,  the  good  which  is  the  higher 
sphere  of  dialectic,  is  the  perfect  truth  to  which  all  things  ascend, 
and  in  which  they  finally  repose. 

This  self-proving  unity  or  idea  of  good  is  a  mere  vision  of 
which  no  distinct  explanation  can  be  given,  relative  only  to  a 
particular  stage  in  Greek  philosophy.  It  is  an  abstraction  under 
which  no  individuals  are  comprehended,  a  whole  which  has 
no  parts  (cf.  Arist,  Nic.  Eth.,  i.  4).  The  vacancy  of  such  a  form 
was  perceived  by  Aristotle,  but  not  by  Plato.  Nor  did  he  recognize 
that  in  the  dialectical  process  are  included  two  or  more  methods 
of  investigation  which  are  at  variance  with  each  other.  He  did 
not  see  that  whether  he  took  the  longer  or  the  shorter  road,  no 
advance  could  be  made  in  this  way.  And  yet  such  visions  often 
have  an  immense  effect ;  for  although  the  method  of  science 
cannot  anticipate  science,  the  idea  of  science,  not  as  it  is,  but 
as  it  will  be  in  the  future,  is  a  great  and  inspiring  principle.  In 
the  pursuit  of  knowledge  we  are  always  pressing  forward  to 
something  beyond  us ;  and  as  a  false  conception  of  knowledge, 
for  example  the  scholastic  philosophy,  may  lead  men  astray  during 
many  ages,  so  the  true  ideal,  though  vacant,  may  draw  all 
their  thoughts  in  a  right  direction.  It  makes  a  great  difference 
whether  the  general  expectation  of  knowledge,  as  this  indefinite 
feeling  may  be  termed,  is  based  upon  a  sound  judgment.  For 
mankind  may  often  entertain  a  true  conception  of  what  knowledge 
ought  to  be  when  they  have  but  a  slender  experience  of  facts. 
The  correlation  of  the  sciences,  the  consciousness  of  the  unity 
of  nature,  the  idea  of  classification,  the  sense  of  proportion, 
the  unwillingness  to  stop  short  of  certainty  or  to  confound  pro- 
bability with  truth,  are  important  principles  of  the  higher  edu- 
cation. Although  Plato  could  tell  us  nothing,  and  perhaps  knew 
that  he  could  tell  us  nothing,  of  the  absolute  truth,  he  has  exercised 
an  influence  on  the  human  mind  which  even  at  the  present  day 
is  not  exhausted ;  and  political  and  social  questions  may  yet  arise 
in  which  the  thoughts  of  Plato  may  be  read  anew  and  receive 
a  fresh  meaning. 

The  Idea  of  good  is  so  called  only  in  the  Republic,  but  there 
are  traces  of  it  in  other  dialogues  of  Plato.  It  is  a  cause  as 
well  as  an  idea,  and  from  this  point  of  view  may  be  compared 
with  the  creator  of  the  Timaeus,  who  out  of  his  goodness  created 

The  Science  of  Dialectic.  ccvii 

all  things.     It  corresponds  to  a  certain  extent  with  the  modern   Republic. 

conception  of  a  law  of  nature,  or  of  a  final  cause,  or  of  both  in    INTRODUC- 
one,  and   in  this  regard   may  be  connected  with  the  measure 

and  symmetry  of  the  Philebus.  It  is  represented  in  the  Sym- 
posium under  the  aspect  of  beauty,  and  is  supposed  to  be  attained 
there  by  stages  of  initiation,  as  here  by  regular  gradations  of 
knowledge.  Viewed  subjectively,  it  is  the  process  or  science 
of  dialectic.  This  is  the  science  which,  according  to  the  Phae- 
drus,  is  the  true  basis  of  rhetoric,  which  alone  is  able  to  distin- 
guish the  natures  and  classes  of  men  and  things ;  which  divides 
a  whole  into  the  natural  parts,  and  reunites  the  scattered  parts, 
into  a  natural  or  organized  whole ;  which  defines  the  abstract 
essences  or  universal  ideas  of  all  things,  and  connects  them; 
which  pierces  the  veil  of  hypotheses  and  reaches  the  final  cause 
or  first  principle  of  all;  wjhich  regards  the  sciences  in  relation 
to  the  idea  of  good.  This  ideal  science  is  the  highest  process 
of  thought,  and  may  be  described  as  the  soul  conversing  with 
herself  or  holding  communion  with  eternal  truth  and  beauty, 
and  in  another  form  is  the  everlasting  question  and  answer — 
the  ceaseless  interrogative  of  Socrates.  The  dialogues  of  Plato 
are  themselves  examples  of  the  nature  and  method  of  dialectic.  . 

Viewed  objectively,  the  idea  of  good  is  a  power  or  cause  which 
makes  the  world  without  us  correspond  with  the  world  within. 
Yet  this  world  without  us  is  still  a  world  of  ideas.  With  Plato 
the  investigation  of  nature  is  another  department  of  knowledge, 
and  in  this  he  seeks  to  attain  only  probable  conclusions  (cp. 
Timaeus,  44  D). 

If  we  ask  whether  this  science  of  dialectic  which  Plato  only 
half  explains  to  us  is  more  akin  to  logic  or  to  metaphysics,  the 
answer  is  that  in  his  mind  the  two  sciences  are  not  as  yet  dis- 
tinguished, any  more  than  the  subjective  and  objective  aspects 
of  the  world  and  of  man,  which  German  philosophy  has  revealed 
to  us.  Nor  has  he  determined  whether  his  science  of  dialectic 
is  at  rest  or  in  motion,  concerned  with  the  contemplation  of 
absolute  being,  or  with  a  process  of  development  and  evolu- 
tion. Modern  metaphysics  may  be  described  as  the  science  of 
abstractions,  or  as  the  science  of  the  evolution  of  thought ;  modern 
logic,  when  passing  beyond  the  bounds  of  mere  Aristotelian 
forms,  may  be  defined  as  the  science  of  method.  The  germ  of 

ccviii  The  Science  of  Dialectic. 

Republic,  both  of  them  is  contained  in  the  Platonic  dialectic  ;  all  meta- 
"  Pnysicians  nave  something  in  common  with  the  ideas  of  Plato ; 
all  logicians  have  derived  something  from  the  method  of  Plato. 
The  nearest  approach  in  modern  philosophy  to  the  universal 
science  of  Plato,  is  to  be  found  in  the  Hegelian  '  succession  of 
moments  in  the  unity  of  the  idea/  Plato  and  Hegel  alike  seem 
to  have  conceived  the  world  as  the  correlation  of  abstractions ; 
and  not  impossibly  they  would  have  understood  one  another 
better  than  any  of  their  commentators  understand  them  (cp.  Swift's 
Voyage  to  Laputa,  c.  8 T).  There  is,  however,  a  diiference  between 
.them :  for  whereas  Hegel  is  thinking  of  all  the  minds  of  men 
as  one  mind,  which  developes  the  stages  of  the  idea  in  different 
countries  or  at  different  times  in  the  same  country,  with  Plato 
these  gradations  are  regarded  only  as  an  order  of  thought  or 
ideas ;  the  history  of  the  human  mind  had  not  yet  dawned 
upon  him. 

Many  criticisms  may  be  made  on  Plato's  theory  of  education. 
While  in  some  respects  he  unavoidably  falls  short  of  modern 
thinkers,  in  others  he  is  in  advance  of  them.  He  is  opposed  to 
the  modes  of  education  which  prevailed  in  his  own  time;  but 
he  can  hardly  be  said  to  have  discovered  new  ones.  He  does 

1  '  Having  a  desire  to  see  those  ancients  who  were  most  renowned  for  wit 

*  and  learning,  I  set  apart  one  day  on  purpose.     I  proposed  that  Homer  and 
'  Aristotle  might  appear  at  the  head  of  all  their  commentators ;  but  these  were 
'so  numerous  that  some  hundreds  were  forced  to  attend  in  the  court  and 
'outward  rooms  of  the  palace.      I  knew,  and  could  distinguish  these  two 

*  heroes,  at  first  sight,  not  only  from  the  crowd,  but  from  each  other.     Homer 
'  was  the  taller  and  comelier  person  of  the  two,  walked  very  erect  for  one  of 
'  his  age,  and  his  eyes  were  the  most  quick  and  piercing  I  ever  beheld.     Aris- 
'  totle  stooped  much,  and  made  use  of  a  staff.     His  visage  was  meagre,  his 
'  hair  lank  and  thin,  and  his  voice  hollow.     I  soon  discovered  that  both  of 
'  them  were  perfect  strangers  to  the  rest  of  the  company,  and  had  never  seen  or 
4  heard  of  them  before.     And  I  had  a  whisper  from  a  ghost,  who  shall  be 
4  nameless,  "  That  these  commentators  always  kept  in  the  most  distant  quarters 
'  from  their  principals,  in  the  lower  world,  through  a  consciousness  of  shame 
'  and  guilt,  because  they  had  so  horribly  misrepresented  the  meaning  of  these 
'  authors  to  posterity."     I  introduced  Didymus  and  Eustathius  to  Homer,  and 
'  prevailed  on  him  to  treat  them  better  than  perhaps  they  deserved,  for  he  soon 
'  found  they  wanted  a  genius  to  enter  into  the  spirit  of  a  poet.     But  Aristotle 
'  was  out  of  all  patience  with  the  account  I  gave  him  of  Scotus  and  Ramus,  as 
'  I  presented  them  to  him ;  and  he  asked  them  "  whether  the  rest  of  the  tribe 
'  were  as  great  dunces  as  themselves  ? "  * 

The  Education  of  later  life.  ccix 

not  see  that  education  is  relative  to  the  characters  of  individuals ;    Republic. 

he  only  desires  to  impress  the  same  form  of  the  state  on  the    INTRODUC- 

minds  of  all.  He  has  no  sufficient  idea  of  the  effect  of  litera- 
ture on  the  formation  of  the  mind,  and  greatly  exaggerates 
that  of  mathematics.  His  aim  is  above  all  things  to  train 
the  reasoning  faculties  ;  to  implant  in  the  mind  the  spirit 
and  power  of  abstraction ;  to  explain  and  define  general  notions, 
and,  if  possible,  to  connect  them.  No  wonder  that  in  the  vacancy 
of  actual  knowledge  his  followers,  and  at  times  even  he  himself, 
should  have  fallen  away  from  the  doctrine  of  ideas,  and  have 
returned  to  that  branch  of  knowledge  in  which  alone  the  rela- 
tion of  the  one  and  many  can  be  truly  seen — the  science  of  number. 
In  his  views  both  of  teaching  and  training  he  might  be  styled, 
in  modern  language,  a  doctrinaire  ;  after  the  Spartan  fashion 
he  would  have  his  citizens  cast  in  one  mould ;  he  does  not  seem 
to  consider  that  some  degree  of  freedom,  'a  little  wholesome 
neglect,'  is  necessary  to  strengthen  and  develope  the  character 
and  to  give  play  to  the  individual  nature.  His  citizens  would 
not  have  acquired  that  knowledge  which  in  the  vision  of  Er  is  sup- 
posed to  be  gained  by  the  pilgrims  from  their  experience  of  evil. 

On  the  other  hand,  Plato  is  far  in  advance  of  modern  philo- 
sophers and  theologians  when  he  teaches  that  education  is  to 
be  continued  through  life  and  will  begin  again  in  another.  He 
would  never  allow  education  of  some  kind  to  cease  ;  although 
he  was  aware  that  the  proverbial  saying  of  Solon,  *  I  grow  old 
learning  many  things,'  cannot  be  applied  literally.  Himself 
ravished  with  the  contemplation  of  the  idea  of  good,  and  de- 
lighting in  solid  geometry  (Rep.  vii.  528),  he  has  no  difficulty 
in  imagining  that  a  lifetime  might  be  passed  happily  in  such 
pursuits.  We  who  know  how  many  more  men  of  business 
there  are  in  the  world  than  real  students  or  thinkers,  are  not 
equally  sanguine.  The  education  which  he  proposes  for  his 
citizens  is  really  the  ideal  life  of  the  philosopher  or  man  of 
genius,  interrupted,  but  only  for  a  time,  by  practical  duties, — a 
life  not  for  the  many,  but  for  the  few. 

Yet  the  thought  of  Plato  may  not  be  wholly  incapable  of  ap- 
plication to  our  own  times.  Even  if  regarded  as  an  ideal  which 
can  never  be  realized,  it  may  have  a  great  effect  in  elevating 
the  characters  of  mankind,  and  raising  them  above  the  routine 


ccx  The  Education  of  later  life. 

Republic,  of  their  ordinary  occupation  or  profession.    It  is  the  best  form 
INTRODUC-   under  which  we  can  conceive  the  whole  of  life.    Nevertheless  the 


idea  of  Plato  is  not  easily  put  into  practice.  For  the  education 
of  after  life  is  necessarily  the  education  which  each  one  gives 
himself.  Men  and  women  cannot  be  brought  together  in  schools 
or  colleges  at  forty  or  fifty  years  of  age ;  and  if  they  could  the 
result  would  be  disappointing.  The  destination  of  most  men  is 
what  Plato  would  call  '  the  Den '  for  the  whole  of  life,  and  with 
that  they  are  content.  Neither  have  they  teachers  or  advisers 
with  whom  they  can  take  counsel  in  riper  years.  There  is  no 
'  schoolmaster  abroad '  who  will  tell  them  of  their  faults,  or  in- 
spire them  with  the  higher  sense  of  duty,  or  with  the  ambition 
of  a  true  success  in  life ;  no  Socrates  who  will  convict  them  of 
ignorance ;  no  Christ,  or  follower  of  Christ,  who  will  reprove  them 
of  sin.  Hence  they  have  a  difficulty  in  receiving  the  first  element 
of  improvement,  which  is  self-knowledge.  The  hopes  of  youth  no 
longer  stir  them ;  they  rather  wish  to  rest  than  to  pursue  high  objects. 
A  few  only  who  have  come  across  great  men  and  women,  or  eminent 
teachers  of  religion  and  morality,  have  received  a  second  life  from 
them,  and  have  lighted  a  candle  from  the  fire  of  their  genius. 

The  want  of  energy  is  one  of  the  main  reasons  why  so  few 
persons  continue  to  improve  in  later  years.  They  have  not  the 
will,  and  do  not  know  the  way.  They  '  never  try  an  experiment,' 
or  look  up  a  point  of  interest  for  themselves  ;  they  make  no  sacri- 
fices for  the  sake  of  knowledge ;  their  minds,  like  their  bodies, 
at  a  certain  age  become  fixed.  Genius  has  been  defined  as  'the 
power  of  taking  pains ' ;  but  hardly  any  one  keeps  up  his  interest 
in  knowledge  throughout  a  whole  life.  The  troubles  of  a  family, 
the  business  of  making  money,  the  demands  of  a  profession  de- 
stroy the  elasticity  of  the  mind.  The  waxen  tablet  of  the  memory 
which  was  once  capable  of  receiving  'true  thoughts  and  clear 
impressions '  becomes  hard  and  crowded ;  there  is  not  room  for 
the  accumulations  of  a  long  life  (Theaet.  194  ff.).  The  student,  as 
years  advance,  rather  makes  an  exchange  of  knowledge  than 
adds  to  his  stores.  There  is  no  pressing  necessity  to  learn; 
the  stock  of  Classics  or  History  or  Natural  Science  which  was 
enough  for  a  man  at  twenty-five  is  enough  for  him  at  fifty. 
Neither  is  it  easy  to  give  a  definite  answer  to  any  one  who 
asks  how  he  is  to  improve.  For  self-education  consists  in  a 

The  Education  of  later  life.  ccxi 

thousand  things,  commonplace  in  themselves, — in  adding  to  what  Republic. 
we  are  by  nature  something  of  what  we  are  not ;  in  learning  to 
see  ourselves  as  others  see  us ;  in  judging,  not  by  opinion,  but 
by  the  evidence  of  facts ;  in  seeking  out  the  society  of  superior 
minds ;  in  a  study  of  the  lives  and  writings  of  great  men ;  in 
observation  of  the  world  and  character ;  in  receiving  kindly  the 
natural  influence  of  different  times  of  life ;  in  any  act  or  thought 
which  is  raised  above  the  practice  or  opinions  of  mankind;  in 
the  pursuit  of  some  new  or  original  enquiry;  in  any  effort  of 
mind  which  calls  forth  some  latent  power. 

If  any  one  is  desirous  of  carrying  out  in  detail  the  Platonic 
education  of  after-life,  some  such  counsels  as  the  following  may 
be  offered  to  him  :— That  he  shall  choose  the  branch  of  know- 
ledge to  which  his  own  mind  most  distinctly  inclines,  and  in 
which  he  takes  the  greatest  delight,  either  one  which  seems 
to  connect  with  his  own  daily  employment,  or,  perhaps,  fur- 
nishes the  greatest  contrast  to  it.  He  may  study  from  the 
speculative  side  the  profession  or  business  in  which  he  is  practi- 
cally engaged.  He  may  make  Homer,  Dante,  Shakespeare, 
Plato,  Bacon  the  friends  and  companions  of  his  life.  He  may 
find  opportunities  of  hearing  the  living  voice  of  a  great  teacher. 
He  may  select  for  enquiry  some  point  of  history  or  some  un- 
explained phenomenon  of  nature.  An  hour  a  day  passed  in 
such  scientific  or  literary  pursuits  will  furnish  as  many  facts 
as  the  memory  can  retain,  and  will  give  him  '  a  pleasure  not  to 
be  repented  of  (Timaeus,  59  D).  Only  let  him  beware  of  being 
the  slave  of  crotchets,  or  of  running  after  a  Will  o'  the  Wisp  in 
his  ignorance,  or  in  his  vanity  of  attributing  to  himself  the  gifts  of 
a  poet  or  assuming  the  air  of  a  philosopher.  He  should  know 
the  limits  of  his  own  powers.  Better  to  build  up  the  mind  by 
slow  additions,  to  creep  on  quietly  from  one  thing  to  another, 
to  gain  insensibly  new  powers  and  new  interests  in  knowledge, 
than  to  form  vast  schemes  which  are  never  destined  to  be 
realized.  But  perhaps,  as  Plato  would  say,  'This  is  part  of 
another  subject '  (Tim.  87  B) ;  though  we  may  also  defend  our 
digression  by  his  example  (Theaet.  72,  77). 

IV.    We  remark  with  surprise  that  the  progress  of  nations  or 



The  Progress  of  the  World. 

Republic,  the  natural  growth  of  institutions  which  fill  modern  treatises  on 
UC"  Pontical  philosophy  seem  hardly  ever  to  have  attracted  the  atten- 
tion of  Plato  and  Aristotle.  The  ancients  were  familiar  with  the 
mutability  of  human  affairs  ;  they  could  moralize  over  the  ruins  of 
cities  and  the  fall  of  empires  (cp.  Plato,  Statesman  301,  302,  and 
Sulpicius'  Letter  to  Cicero,  Ad  Fam.  iv.  5)  ;  by  them  fate  and 
chance  were  deemed  to  be  real  powers,  almost  persons,  and  to 
have  had  a  great  share  in  political  events.  The  wiser  of  them 
like  Thucydides  believed  that  'what  had  been  would  be  again,' 
and  that  a  tolerable  idea  of  the  future  could  be  gathered  from  the 
past.  Also  they  had  dreams  of  a  Golden  Age  which  existed  once 
upon  a  time  and  might  still  exist  in  some  unknown  land,  or  might 
return  again  in  the  remote  future.  But  the  regular  growth  of  a 
state  enlightened  by  experience,  progressing  in  knowledge,  im- 
proving in  the  arts,  of  which  the  citizens  were  educated  by  the 
fulfilment  of  political  duties,  appears  never  to  have  come  within 
the  range  of  their  hopes  and  aspirations.  Such  a  state  had  never 
been  seen,  and  therefore  could  not  be  conceived  by  them.  Their 
experience  (cp.  Aristot.  Metaph.  xi.  21  ;  Plato,  Laws  iii.  676-9) 
led  them  to  conclude  that  there  had  been  cycles  of  civilization  in 
which  the  arts  had  been  discovered  and  lost  many  times  over, 
and  cities  had  been  overthrown  and  rebuilt  again  and  again,  and 
deluges  and  volcanoes  and  other  natural  convulsions  had  altered 
the  face  of  the  earth.  Tradition  told  them  of  many  destructions 
of  mankind  and  of  the  preservation  of  a  remnant.  The  world 
began  again  after  a  deluge  and  was  reconstructed  out  of  the 
fragments  of  itself.  Also  they  were  acquainted  with  empires  of 
unknown  antiquity,  like  the  Egyptian  or  Assyrian  ;  but  they  had 
never  seen  them  grow,  and  could  not  imagine,  any  more  than 
we  can,  the  state  of  man  which  preceded  them.  They  were 
puzzled  and  awestricken  by  the  Egyptian  monuments,  of  which 
the  forms,  as  Plato  says,  not  in  a  figure,  but  literally,  were  ten 
thousand  years  old  (Laws  ii.  656  E),  and  they  contrasted  the  an- 
tiquity of  Egypt  with  their  own  short  memories. 

The  early  legends  of  Hellas  have  no  real  connection  with  the 
later  history  :  they  are  at  a  distance,  and  the  intermediate  region 
is  concealed  from  view  ;  there  is  no  road  or  path  which  leads  from 
one  to  the  other.  At  the  beginning  of  Greek  history,  in  the 
vestibule  of  the  temple,  is  seen  standing  first  of  all  the  figure  of 

The  Progress  of  the   World.  ccxiii 

the  legislator,  himself  the  interpreter  and  servant  of  the  God.  Republic, 
The  fundamental  laws  which  he  gives  are  not  supposed  to  change 
with  time  and  circumstances.  The  salvation  of  the  state  is  held 
rather  to  depend  on  the  inviolable  maintenance  of  them.  They 
were  sanctioned  by  the  authority  of  heaven,  and  it  was  deemed 
impiety  to  alter  them.  The  desire  to  maintain  them  unaltered 
seems  to  be  the  origin  of  what  at  first  sight  is  very  surprising 
to  us — the  intolerant  zeal  of  Plato  against  innovators  in  religion 
or  politics  (cp.  Laws  x.  907-9) ;  although  with  a  happy  incon- 
sistency he  is  also  willing  that  the  laws  of  other  countries  should 
be  studied  and  improvements  in  legislation  privately  communi- 
cated to  the  Nocturnal  Council  (Laws  xii.  951,  2).  The  additions 
which  were  made  to  them  in  later  ages  in  order  to  meet  the 
increasing  complexity  of  affairs  were  still  ascribed  by  a  fiction 
to  the  original  legislator;  and  the  words  of  such  enactments  at 
Athens  were  disputed  over  as  if  they  had  been  the  words  of 
Solon  himself.  Plato  hopes  to  preserve  in  a  later  generation  the 
mind  of  the  legislator ;  he  would  have  his  citizens  remain  within 
the  lines  which  he  has  laid  down  for  them.  He  would  not  harass 
them  with  minute  regulations,  and  he  would  have  allowed  some 
changes  in  the  laws :  but  not  changes  which  would  affect  the 
fundamental  institutions  of  the  state,  such  for  example  as  would 
convert  an  aristocracy  into  a  timocracy,  or  a  timocracy  into  a 
popular  form  of  government. 

Passing  from  speculations  to  facts,  we  observe  that  progress 
has  been  the  exception  rather  than  the  law  of  human  history. 
And  therefore  we  are  not  surprised  to  find  that  the  idea  of  pro- 
gress is  of  modern  rather  than  of  ancient  date  ;  and,  like  the  idea 
of  a  philosophy  of  history,  is  not  more  than  a  century  or  two  old. 
It  seems  to  have  arisen  out  of  the  impression  left  on  the  human 
mind  by  the  growth  of  the  Roman  Empire  and  of  the  Christian 
Church,  and  to  be  due  to  the  political  and  social  improvements 
which  they  introduced  into  the  world  ;  and  still  more  in  our  own 
century  to  the  idealism  of  the  first  French  Revolution  and  the 
triumph  of  American  Independence ;  and  in  a  yet  greater  degree 
to  the  vast  material  prosperity  and  growth  of  population  in 
England  and  her  colonies  and  in  America.  It  is  also  to  be 
ascribed  in  a  measure  to  the  greater  study  of  the  philosophy  of 
history.  The  optimist  temperament  of  some  great  writers  has 

ccxiv  The  Republic  and  the  Laws. 

Republic,  assisted  the  creation  of  it,  while  the  opposite  character  has  led  a 
INTRODUC-  few  to  regard  the  future  of  the  world  as  dark.  The  '  spectator  of 
all  time  and  of  all  existence '  sees  more  of '  the  increasing  purpose 
which  through  the  ages  ran  '  than  formerly :  but  to  the  inhabitant 
of  a  small  state  of  Hellas  the  vision  was  necessarily  limited  like 
the  valley  in  which  he  dwelt.  There  was  no  remote  past  on 
which  his  eye  could  rest,  nor  any  future  from  which  the  veil 
was  partly  lifted  up  by  the  analogy  of  history.  The  narrowness 
of  view,  which  to  ourselves  appears  so  singular,  was  to  him 
natural,  if  not  unavoidable. 

V.  For  the  relation  of  the  Republic  to  the  Statesman  and  the 
Laws,  the  two  other  works  of  Plato  which  directly  treat  of  politics, 
see  the  Introductions  to  the  two  latter ;  a  few  general  points  of 
comparison  may  be  touched  upon  in  this  place. 

And  first  of  the  Laws,  (i)  The  Republic,  though  probably 
written  at  intervals,  yet  speaking  generally  and  judging  by  the 
indications  of  thought  and  style,  may  be  reasonably  ascribed  to 
the  middle  period  of  Plato's  life  :  the  Laws  are  certainly  the  work 
of  his  declining  years,  and  some  portions  of  them  at  any  rate  seem 
to  have  been  written  in  extreme  old  age.  (2)  The  Republic  is 
full  of  hope  and  aspiration  :  the  Laws  bear  the  stamp  of  failure 
and  disappointment.  The  one  is  a  finished  work  which  received 
the  last  touches  of  the  author :  the  other  is  imperfectly  executed, 
and  apparently  unfinished.  The  one  has  the  grace  and  beauty  of 
youth  :  the  other  has  lost  the  poetical  form,  but  has  more  of  the 
severity  and  knowledge  of  life  which  is  characteristic  of  old  age. 
(3)  The  most  conspicuous  defect  of  the  Laws  is  the  failure  of 
dramatic  power,  whereas  the  Republic  is  full  of  striking  contrasts 
of  ideas  and  oppositions  of  character.  (4)  The  Laws  may  be  said 
to  have  more  the  nature  of  a  sermon,  the  Republic  of  a  poem  ; 
the  one  is  more  religious,  the  other  more  intellectual.  (5)  Many 
theories  of  Plato,  such  as  the  doctrine  of  ideas,  the  government 
of  the  world  by  philosophers,  are  not  found  in  the  Laws ;  the 
immortality  of  the  soul  is  first  mentioned  in  xii.  959,  967 ;  the 
person  of  Socrates  has  altogether  disappeared.  The  community 
of  women  and  children  is  renounced ;  the  institution  of  common 
or  public  meals  for  women  (Laws  vi.  781)  is  for  the  first  time  intro- 

The  Republic  and  the  Laws.  ccxv 

duced  (Ar.  Pol.  ii.  6,  §  5).  (6)  There  remains  in  the  Laws  the  old  Republic. 
enmity  to  the  poets  (vii.  817),  who  are  ironically  saluted  in  high-  INTRODUC- 
flown  terms,  and,  at  the  same  time,  are  peremptorily  ordered  out 
of  the  city,  if  they  are  not  willing  to  submit  their  poems  to  the 
censorship  of  the  magistrates  (cp.  Rep.  iii.  398).  (7)  Though  the 
work  is  in  most  respects  inferior,  there  are  a  few  passages  in  the 
Laws,  such  as  v.  727  ff.  (the  honour  due  to  the  soul),  viii.  835  ff. 
(the  evils  of  licentious  or  unnatural  love),  the  whole  of  Book  x. 
(religion),  xi.  918  ff.  (the  dishonesty  of  retail  trade),  and  923  ff. 
(bequests),  which  come  more  home  to  us,  and  contain  more  of 
what  may  be  termed  the  modern  element  in  Plato  than  almost 
anything  in  the  Republic. 

The  relation  of  the  two  works  to  one  another  is  very  well  given : 
(i)  by  Aristotle  in  the  Politics  (ii.  6,  §§  1-5)  from  the  side  of 
the  Laws : — 

'The  same,  or  nearly  the  same,  objections  apply  to  Plato's 
'  later  work,  the  Laws,  and  therefore  we  had  better  examine  briefly 
'the  constitution  which  is  therein  described.  In  the  Republic, 
'  Socrates  has  definitely  settled  in  all  a  few  questions  only ;  such 
'as  the  community  of  women  and  children,  the  community  of 
'property,  and  the  constitution  of  the  state.  The  population  is 
'  divided  into  two  classes — one  of  husbandmen,  and  the  other  of 
'  warriors ;  from  this  latter  is  taken  a  third  class  of  counsellors 
'  and  rulers  of  the  state.  But  Socrates  has  not  determined  whether 
'the  husbandmen  and  artists  are  to  have  a  share  in  the  govern- 
'ment,  and  whether  they  too  are  to  carry  arms  and  share  in 
'military  service  or  not.  He  certainly  thinks  that  the  women 
'ought  to  share  in  the  education  of  the  guardians,  and  to  fight 
'by  their  side.  The  remainder  of  the  work  is  filled  up  with 
'digressions  foreign  to  the  main  subject,  and  with  discussions 
'about  the  education  of  the  guardians.  In  the  Laws  there  is 
'  hardly  anything  but  laws ;  not  much  is  said  about  the  constitution. 
'  This,  which  he  had  intended  to  make  more  of  the  ordinary  type, 
'  he  gradually  brings  round  to  the  other  or  ideal  form.  For  with 
'the  exception  of  the  community  of  women  and  property,  he 
'  supposes  everything  to  be  the  same  in  both  states ;  there  is  to  be 
'  the  same  education ;  the  citizens  of  both  are  to  live  free  from 
'  servile  occupations,  and  there  are  to  be  common  meals  in  both. 
'  The  only  difference  is  that  in  the  Laws  the  common  meals  are 

ccxvi  The  Republk  and  the  Laws. 

Republic.   '  extended  to  women,  and  the  warriors  number  about  5000,  but  in 
INTRODUC-    <  the  Republic  only  1000.' 


(ii)  by  Plato  in  the  Laws  (Book  v.  739  B-E),  from  the  side  of 
the  Republic : — 

'  The  first  and  highest  form  of  the  state  and  of  the  government 
'and  of  the  law  is  that  in  which  there  prevails  most  widely  the 
'  ancient  saying  that "  Friends  have  all  things  in  common."  Whether 
'  there  is  now,  or  ever  will  be,  this  communion  of  women  and 
'children  and  of  property,  in  which  the  private  and  individual 
'  is  altogether  banished  from  life,  and  things  which  are  by  nature 

*  private,  such  as  eyes  and  ears  and  hands,  have  become  common, 

*  and  all  men  express  praise  and  blame,  and  feel  joy  and  sorrow, 
'  on  the  same  occasions,  and  the  laws  unite  the  city  to  the  utmost, — 
'  whether  all  this  is  possible  or  not,  I  say  that  no  man,  acting  upon 
'  any  other  principle,  will  ever  constitute  a  state  more  exalted  in 
'virtue,  or  truer  or  better  than  this.     Such  a  state,  whether  in- 
'  habited  by  Gods  or  sons  of  Gods,  will  make  them  blessed  who 
'  dwell  therein ;  and  therefore  to  this  we  are  to  look  for  the  pattern 
1  of  the  state,  and  to  cling  to  this,  and,  as  far  as  possible,  to  seek 
'  for  one  which  is  like  this.  The  state  which  we  have  now  in  hand, 
'when  created,  will  be  nearest  to  immortality  and  unity  in  the 
'  next  degree ;  and  after  that,  by  the  grace  of  God,  we  will  com- 
'  plete  the  third  one.    And  we  will  begin  by  speaking  of  the  nature 
1  and  origin  of  the  second.' 

The  comparatively  short  work  called  the  Statesman  or  Politicus 
in  its  style  and  manner  is  more  akin  to  the  Laws,  while  in  its 
idealism  it  rather  resembles  the  Republic.  As  far  as  we  can 
judge  by  various  indications  of  language  and  thought,  it  must 
be  later  than  the  one  and  of  course  earlier  than  the  other.  In 
both  the  Republic  and  Statesman  a  close  connection  is  maintained 
between  Politics  and  Dialectic.  In  the  Statesman,  enquiries  into 
the  principles  of  Method  are  interspersed  with  discussions  about 
Politics.  The  comparative  advantages  of  the  rule  of  law  and  of 
a  person  are  considered,  and  the  decision  given  in  favour  of  a 
person  (Arist.  Pol.  iii.  15, 16).  But  much  may  be  said  on  the  other 
side,  nor  is  the  opposition  necessary ;  for  a  person  may  rule  by  law, 
and  law  may  be  so  applied  as  to  be  the  living  voice  of  the  legis- 
lator. As  in  the  Republic,  there  is  a  myth,  describing,  however, 
not  a  future,  but  a  former  existence  of  mankind.  The  question  is 

Cicero  s  De  Republica.  ccxvii 

asked,  '  Whether  the  state  of  innocence  which  is  described  in  the   Republic. 
myth,  or  a  state  like  our  own  which  possesses  art  and  science  and    INTRODU<> 
distmguishes  good  from  evil,  is  the  preferable  condition  of  man.' 
To  this  question  of  the  comparative  happiness  of  civilized  and 
primitive  life,  which  was  so  often  discussed  in  the  last  century  and 
in  our  own,  no  answer  is  given.     The  Statesman,   though  less 
perfect  in   style  than  the  Republic   and  of  far  less  range,  may 
justly  be  regarded  as  one  of  the  greatest  of  Plato's  dialogues. 

VI.  Others  as  well  as  Plato  have  chosen  an  ideal  Republic  to 
be  the  vehicle  of  thoughts  which  they  could  not  definitely  express, 
or  which  went  beyond  their  own  age.  The  classical  writing 
which  approaches  most  nearly  to  the  Republic  of  Plato  is  the 
*  De  Republica '  of  Cicero ;  but  neither  in  this  nor  in  any  other 
of  his  dialogues  does  he  rival  the  art  of  Plato.  The  manners  are 
clumsy  and  inferior ;  the  hand  of  the  rhetorician  is  apparent  at 
every  turn.  Yet  noble  sentiments  are  constantly  recurring :  the 
true  note  of  Roman  patriotism — '  We  Romans  are  a  great  people ' 
— resounds  through  the  whole  work.  Like  Socrates,  Cicero  turns 
away  from  the  phenomena  of  the  heavens  to  civil  and  political 
life.  He  would  rather  not  discuss  the  'two  Suns'  of  which  all 
Rome  was  talking,  when  he  can  converse  about '  the  two  nations 
in  one'  which  had  divided  Rome  ever  since  the  days  of  the 
Gracchi.  Like  Socrates  again,  speaking  in  the  person  of  Scipio, 
he  is  afraid  lest  he  should  assume  too  much  the  character  of  a 
teacher,  rather  than  of  an  equal  who  is  discussing  among  friends 
the  two  sides  of  a  question.  He  would  confine  the  terms  King 
or  State  to  the  rule  of  reason  and  justice,  and  he  will  not  concede 
that  title  either  to  a  democracy  or  to  a  monarchy.  But  under 
the  rule  of  reason  and  justice  he  is  willing  to  include  the  natural 
superior  ruling  over  the  natural  inferior,  which  he  compares  to 
the  soul  ruling  over  the  body.  He  prefers  a  mixture  of  forms 
of  government  to  any  single  one.  The  two  portraits  of  the  just 
and  the  unjust,  which  occur  in  the  second  book  of  the  Republic, 
are  transferred  to  the  state — Philus,  one  of  the  interlocutors, 
maintaining  against  his  will  the  necessity  of  injustice  as  a 
principle  of  government,  while  the  other,  Laelius,  supports  the 
opposite  thesis.  His  views  of  language  and  number  are  derived 

ccxviii  St.  Augustine s  De  Civitate  Dei. 


Republic,  from  Plato ;  like  him  he  denounces  the  drama.  He  also  declares 
t^ia*  ^  kis  ^e  were  to  be  twice  as  long  he  would  have  no  time 
to  read  the  lyric  poets.  The  picture  of  democracy  is  translated 
by  him  word  for  word,  though  he  has  hardly  shown  himself  able 
to  '.carry  the  jest '  of  Plato.  He  converts  into  a  stately  sentence 
the  humorous  fancy  about  the  animals,  who  '  are  so  imbued  with 
the  spirit  of  democracy  that  they  make  the  passers-by  get  out 
of  their  way'  (i.  42).  His  description  of  the  tyrant  is  imitated 
from  Plato,  but  is  far  inferior.  The  second  book  is  historical, 
and  claims  for  the  Roman  constitution  (which  is  to  him  the  ideal) 
a  foundation  of  fact  such  as  Plato  probably  intended  to  have  given 
to  the  Republic  in  the  Critias.  His  most  remarkable  imitation 
of  Plato  is  the  adaptation  of  the  vision  of  Er,  which  is  converted 
by  Cicero  into  the  '  Somnium  Scipionis ' ;  he  has  '  romanized ' 
the  myth  of  the  Republic,  adding  an  argument  for  the  immortality 
of  the  soul  taken  from  the  Phaedrus,  and  some  other  touches 
derived  from  the  Phaedo  and  the  Timaeus.  Though  a  beautiful 
tale  and  containing  splendid  passages,  the  '  Somnium  Scipionis '  is 
very  inferior  to  the  vision  of  Er ;  it  is  only  a  dream,  and  hardly 
allows  the  reader  to  suppose  that  the  writer  believes  in  his  own 
creation.  Whether  his  dialogues  were  framed  on  the  model  of 
the  lost  dialogues  of  Aristotle,  as  he  himself  tells  us,  or  of  Plato, 
to  which  they  bear  many  superficial  resemblances,  he  is  still  the 
Roman  orator;  he  is  not  conversing,  but  making  speeches,  and 
is  never  able  to  mould  the  intractable  Latin  to  the  grace  and 
ease  of  the  Greek  Platonic  dialogue.  But  if  he  is  defective  in 
form,  much  more  is  he  inferior  to  the  Greek  in  matter;  he  no- 
where in  his  philosophical  writings  leaves  upon  our  minds  the 
impression  of  an  original  thinker. 

Plato's  Republic  has  been  said  to  be  a  church  and  not  a  state ; 
and  such  an  ideal  of  a  city  in  the  heavens  has  always  hovered 
over  the  Christian  world,  and  is  embodied  in  St.  Augustine's  '  De 
Civitate  Dei,'  which  is  suggested  by  the  decay  and  fall  of  the 
Roman  Empire,  much  in  the  same  manner  in  which  we  may 
imagine  the  Republic  of  Plato  to  have  been  influenced  by  the 
decline  of  Greek  politics  in  the  writer's  own  age.  The  difference 
is  that  in  the  time  of  Plato  the  degeneracy,  though  certain,  was 
gradual  and  insensible:  whereas  the  taking  of  Rome  by  the 
Goths  stirred  like  an  earthquake  the  age  of  St.  Augustine.  Men 

St.  Augustine  s  De  Civitate  Dei.  ccxix 

were  inclined  to  believe  that  the  overthrow  of  the  city  was  to  be  Republic. 
ascribed  to  the  anger  felt  by  the  old  Roman  deities  at  the  neglect 
of  their  worship.     St.  Augustine  maintains  the  opposite  thesis ; 
he  argues  that  the   destruction   of  the   Roman  Empire  is  due, 
not  to  the  rise  of  Christianity,  but  to  the  vices   of  Paganism. 
He  wanders  over  Roman  history,  and   over  Greek  philosophy 
and  mythology,  and  finds  everywhere  crime,  impiety  and  false- 
hood.    He   compares  the  worst  parts   of  the   Gentile  religions 
with  the  best  elements  of  the  faith  of  Christ.     He  shows  nothing 
of  the  spirit  which  led  others  of  the  early  Christian  Fathers  to 
recognize  in  the  writings  of  the  Greek  philosophers  the  power  of 
the  divine  truth.     He  traces  the  parallel  of  the  kingdom  of  God, 
that  is,  the  history  of  the  Jews,  contained  in  their  scriptures, 
and   of  the  kingdoms  of  the  world,  which  are  found  in  gentile 
writers,  and  pursues  them  both  into  an  ideal  future.     It  need 
hardly  be  remarked  that  his  use  both  of  Greek  and  of  Roman 
historians  and  of  the  sacred  writings   of  the  Jews  is  wholly 
uncritical.     The  heathen  mythology,  the   Sybilline  oracles,   the 
myths  of  Plato,  the  dreams  of  Neo-Platonists  are  equally  regarded 
by  him  as  matter  of  fact.     He  must  be  acknowledged  to  be  a 
strictly  polemical  or  controversial  writer  who  makes  the  best 
of  everything  on  one  side  and  the  worst  of  everything  on  the 
other.     He  has  no  sympathy  with  the  old  Roman  life  as  Plato 
has  with   Greek   life,  nor  has  he  any  idea  of  the  ecclesiastical 
kingdom  which  was  to  arise  out   of  the  ruins  of  the   Roman 
empire.     He  is  not  blind  to  the  defects  of  the  Christian  Church, 
and  looks  forward  to  a  time  when  Christian  and  Pagan  shall  be 
alike  brought  before  the  judgment-seat,  and  the  true  City  of  God 
shall  appear. . . .  The  work  of  St.  Augustine  is  a  curious  repertory 
of  antiquarian  learning  and   quotations,  deeply  penetrated  with 
Christian  ethics,  but  showing  little  power  of  reasoning,  and  a 
slender  knowledge  of  the  Greek  literature  and  language.     He 
was  a  great  genius,  and  a  noble  character,  yet  hardly  capable  of 
feeling  or  understanding  anything  external  to  his  own  theology. 
Of  all  the  ancient  philosophers  he  is  most  attracted  by  Plato, 
though   he  is  very  slightly  acquainted  with   his  writings.      He 
is  inclined  to  believe  that  the  idea  of  creation  in  the  Timaeus  is 
derived  from  the  narrative  in  Genesis ;  and  he  is  strangely  taken 
with  the  coincidence  (?)  of  Plato's  saying  that  'the  philosopher 


ccxx  Dante  s  De  Monarchia. 

Republic,  is  the  lover  of  God,'  and  the  words  of  the  Book  of  Exodus 
IN™°°UC-  in  which  God  reveals  himself  to  Moses  (Exod.  iii.  14).  He 
dwells  at  length  on  miracles  performed  in  his  own  day,  of  which 
the  evidence  is  regarded  by  him  as  irresistible.  He  speaks  in  a 
very  interesting  manner  of  the  beauty  and  utility  of  nature  and 
of  the  human  frame,  which  he  conceives  to  aiford  a  foretaste 
of  the  heavenly  state  and  of  the  resurrection  of  the  body.  The 
book  is  not  really  what  to  most  persons  the  title  of  it  would 
imply,  and  belongs  to  an  age  which-  has  passed  away.  But  it 
contains  many  fine  passages  and  thoughts  which  are  for  all 

The  short  treatise  de  Monarchia  of  Dante  is  by  far  the  most 
remarkable  of  mediaeval  ideals,  and  bears  the  impress  of  the 
great  genius  in  whom  Italy  and  the  Middle  Ages  are  so  vividly 
reflected.  It  is  the  vision  of  an  Universal  Empire,  which  is 
supposed  to  be  the  natural  and  necessary  government  of  the 
world,  having  a  divine  authority  distinct  from  the  Papacy,  yet 
coextensive  with  it.  It  is  not  'the  ghost  of  the  dead  Roman 
Empire  sitting  crowned  upon  the  grave  thereof/  but  the  legitimate 
heir  and  successor  of  it,  justified  by  the  ancient  virtues  of  the 
Romans  and  the  beneficence  of  their  rule.  Their  right  to  be 
the  governors  of  the  world  is  also  confirmed  by  the  testimony 
of  miracles,  and  acknowledged  by  St.  Paul  when  he  appealed 
to  Caesar,  and  even  more  emphatically  by  Christ  Himself,  Who 
could  not  have  made  atonement  for  the  sins  of  men  if  He  had 
not  been  condemned  by  a  divinely  authorized  tribunal.  The 
necessity  for  the  establishment  of  an  Universal  Empire  is  proved 
partly  by  a  priori  arguments  such  as  the  unity  of  God  and  the 
unity  of  the  family  or  nation ;  partly  by  perversions  of  Scripture 
and  history,  by  false  analogies  of  nature,  by  misapplied  quotations 
from  the  classics,  and  by  odd  scraps  and  commonplaces  of  logic, 
showing  a  familiar  but  by  no  means  exact  knowledge  of  Aristotle 
(of  Plato  there  is  none).  But  a  more  convincing  argument  still 
is  the  miserable  state  of  the  world,  which  he  touchingly  describes. 
He  sees  no  hope  of  happiness  or  peace  for  mankind  until  all 
nations  of  the  earth  are  comprehended  in  a  single  empire.  The 
whole  treatise  shows  how  deeply  the  idea  of  the  Roman  Empire 
was  fixed  in  the  minds  of  his  contemporaries.  Not  much  argument 
was  needed  to  maintain  the  truth  of  a  theory  which  to  his  own 

Sir  Thomas  Mores  Utopia.  ccxxi 

contemporaries   seemed  so  natural  and  congenial.      He  speaks,   Republic. 
or  rather  preaches,  from  the  point  of  view,  not  of  the  ecclesiastic,    INTRODUC- 
but  of  the  layman,  although,  as  a  good   Catholic,  he  is  willing 
to  acknowledge  that  in  certain  respects  the  Empire  must  submit 
to  the  Church.    The  beginning  and  end  of  all  his  noble  reflections 
and  of  his  arguments,  good  and  bad,  is  the  aspiration,  'that  in 
this  little  plot  of  earth  belonging  to  mortal  man  life  may  pass 
in  freedom  and  peace.'     So  inextricably  is  his  vision  of  the  future 
bound  up  with  the  beliefs  and  circumstances  of  his  own  age. 

The  'Utopia'  of  Sir  Thomas  More  is  a  surprising  monument 
of  his  genius,  and  shows  a  reach  of  thought  far  beyond  his 
contemporaries.  The  book  was  written  by  him  at  the  age  of 
about  34  or  35,  and  is  full  of  the  generous  sentiments  of  youth. 
He  brings  the  light  of  Plato  to  bear  upon  the  miserable  state 
of  his  own  country.  Living  not  long  after  the  Wars  of  the 
Roses,  and  in  the  dregs  of  the  Catholic  Church  in  England,  he 
is  indignant  at  the  corruption  of  the  clergy,  at  the  luxury  of  the 
nobility  and  gentry,  at  the  sufferings  of  the  poor,  at  the  calamities 
caused  by  war.  To  the  eye  of  More  the  whole  world  was 
in  dissolution  and  decay;  and  side  by  side  with  the  misery 
and  oppression  which  he  has  described  in  the  First  Book  of  the 
Utopia,  he  places  in  the  Second  Book  the  ideal  state  which  by 
the  help  of  Plato  he  had  constructed.  The  times  were  full  of 
stir  and  intellectual  interest.  The  distant  murmur  of  the  Re- 
formation was  beginning  to  be  heard.  To  minds  like  More's, 
Greek  literature  was  a  revelation :  there  had  arisen  an  art  of  inter- 
pretation, and  the  New  Testament  was  beginning  to  be  understood 
as  it  had  never  been  before,  and  has  not  often  been  since,  in  its 
natural  sense.  The  life  there  depicted  appeared  to  him  wholly 
unlike  that  of  Christian  commonwealths,  in  which  'he  saw 
nothing  but  a  certain  conspiracy  of  rich  men  procuring  their 
own  commodities  under  the  name  and  title  of  the  Commonwealth.' 
He  thought  that  Christ,  like  Plato,  '  instituted  all  things  common/ 
for  which  reason,  he  tells  us,  the  citizens  of  Utopia  were  the 
more  willing  to  receive  his  doctrines1.  The  community  of 

1  '  Howbeit,  I  think  this  was  no  small  help  and  furtherance  in  the  matter, 
that  they  heard  us  say  that  Christ  instituted  among  his,  all  things  common,  and 
that  the  same  community  doth  yet  remain  in  the  rightest  Christian  com- 
munities '  (Utopia,  English  Reprints,  p.  144). 

ccxxii  Sir  Thomas  More  5   Utopia. 

Republic,  property  is  a  fixed  idea  with  him,  though  he  is  aware  of  the 

INTRODUC-   arguments  which  may  be  urged  on  the  other  side  \    We  wonder 

how  in  the  reign  of  Henry  VIII,  though  veiled  in  another  language 

and  published  in  a  foreign  country,  such  speculations  could  have 

been  endured. 

He  is  gifted  with  far  greater  dramatic  invention  than  any  one 
who  succeeded  him,  with  the  exception  of  Swift.  In  the  art  of 
feigning  he  is  a  worthy  disciple  of  Plato.  Like  him,  starting  from 
a  small  portion  of  fact,  he  founds  his  tale  with  admirable  skill  on  a 
few  lines  in  the  Latin  narrative  of  the  voyages  of  Amerigo 
Vespucci.  He  is  very  precise  about  dates  and  facts,  and  has  the 
power  of  making  us  believe  that  the  narrator  of  the  tale  must  have 
been  an  eyewitness.  We  are  fairly  puzzled  by  his  manner  of 
mixing  up  real  and  imaginary  persons ;  his  boy  John  Clement  and 
Peter  Giles,  the  citizen  of  Antwerp,  with  whom  he  disputes  about 
the  precise  words  which  are  supposed  to  have  been  used  by  the 
(imaginary)  Portuguese  traveller,  Raphael  Hythloday.  'I  have 
the  more  cause,'  says  Hythloday,  '  to  fear  that  my  words  shall  not 
be  believed,  for  that  I  know  how  difficultly  and  hardly  I  myself 
would  have  believed  another  man  telling  the  same,  if  I  had  not 
myself  seen  it  with  mine  own  eyes.'  Or  again :  'If  you  had  been 
with  me  in  Utopia,  and  had  presently  seen  their  fashions  and  laws 
as  I  did  which  lived  there  five  years  and  more,  and  would  never 
have  come  thence,  but  only  to  make  the  new  land  known  here,' 
etc.  More  greatly  regrets  that  he  forgot  to  ask  Hythloday  in  what 
part  of  the  world  Utopia  is  situated ;  he  '  would  have  spent  no 
small  sum  of  money  rather  than  it  should  have  escaped  him/  and 
he  begs  Peter  Giles  to  see  Hythloday  or  write  to  him  and  obtain 
an  answer  to  the  question.  After  this  we  are  not  surprised  to 
hear  that  a  Professor  of  Divinity  (perhaps  '  a  late  famous  vicar  of 
Croydon  in  Surrey,'  as  the  translator  thinks)  is  desirous  of  being 
sent  thither  as  a  missionary  by  the  High  Bishop,  '  yea,  and  that  he 
may  himself  be  made  Bishop  of  Utopia,  nothing  doubting  that  he 
must  obtain  this  Bishopric  with  suit ;  and  he  counteth  that  a  godly 

1  '  These  things  (I  say),  when  I  consider  with  myself,  I  hold  well  with  Plato, 
and  do  nothing  marvel  that  he  would  make  no  laws  for  them  that  refused  those 
laws,  whereby  all  men  should  have  and  enjoy  equal  portions  of  riches  and 
commodities.  For  the  wise  man  did  easily  foresee  this  to  be  the  one  and  only 
way  to  the  wealth  of  a  community,  if  equality  of  all  things  should  be  brought 
in  and  established'  (Utopia,  English  Reprints,  pp.  67,  68). 

Sir  Thomas  Mores  Utopia.  ccxxiii 

suit  which  proceedeth  not  of  the  desire  of  honour  or  lucre,  but  Republic. 
only  of  a  godly  zeal.'  The  design  may  have  failed  through  the 
disappearance  of  Hythloday,  concerning  whom  we  have  'very 
uncertain  news '  after  his  departure.  There  is  no  doubt,  however, 
that  he  had  told  More  and  Giles  the  exact  situation  of  the  island, 
but  unfortunately  at  the  same  moment  More's  attention,  as  he  is 
reminded  in  a  letter  from  Giles,  was  drawn  off  by  a  servant,  and 
one  of  the  company  from  a  cold  caught  on  shipboard  coughed  so 
loud  as  to  prevent  Giles  from  hearing.  And  'the  secret  has 
perished'  with  him;  to  this  day  the  place  of  Utopia  remains 

The  words  of  Phaedrus  (275  B),  '  O  Socrates,  you  can  easily 
invent  Egyptians  or  anything,'  are  recalled  to  our  mind  as  we  read 
this  lifelike  fiction.  Yet  the  greater  merit  of  the  work  is  not  the 
admirable  art,  but  the  originality  of  thought.  More  is  as  free  as 
Plato  from  the  prejudices  of  his  age,  and  far  more  tolerant.  The 
Utopians  do  not  allow  him  who  believes  not  in  the  immortality  of 
the  soul  to  share  in  the  administration  of  the  state  (cp.  Laws  x. 
908  foil.),  '  howbeit  they  put  him  to  no  punishment,  because  they 
be  persuaded  that  it  is  in  no  man's  power  to  believe  what  he  list ' ; 
and  '  no  man  is  to  be  blamed  for  reasoning  in  support  of  his  own 
religion  V  In  the  public  services  *  no  prayers  be  used,  but  such  as 
every  man  may  boldly  pronounce  without  giving  offence  to  any 
sect.'  He  says  significantly  (p.  143),  '  There  be  that  give  worship 
to  a  man  that  was  once  of  excellent  virtue  or  of  famous  glory,  not 
only  as  God,  but  also  the  chiefest  and  highest  God.  But  the  most 
and  the  wisest  part,  rejecting  all  these,  believe  that  there  is  a  certain 
godly  power  unknown,  far  above  the  capacity  and  reach  of  man's 
wit,  dispersed  throughout  all  the  world,  not  in  bigness,  but  in 
virtue  and  power.  Him  they  call  the  Father  of  all.  To  Him 
alone  they  attribute  the  beginnings,  the  increasings,  the  proceed- 

1  '  One  of  our  company  in  my  presence  was  sharply  punished.  He,  as  soon 
as  he  was  baptised,  began,  against  our  wills,  with  more  earnest  affection  than 
wisdom,  to  reason  of  Christ's  religion,  and  began  to  wax  so  hot  in  his  matter, 
that  he  did  not  only  prefer  our  religion  before  all  other,  but  also  did  despise 
and  condemn  all  other,  calling  them  profane,  and  the  followers  of  them  wicked 
and  devilish,  and  the  children  of  everlasting  damnation.  When  he  had  thus 
long  reasoned  the  matter,  they  laid  hold  on  him,  accused  him,  and  condemned 
him  into  exile,  not  as  a  despiser  of  religion,  but  as  a  seditious  person  and  a 
raiser  up  of  dissension  among  the  people  '  (p.  145). 

ccxxiv  Sir  Thomas  Mores   Utopia. 

Republic,  ings,  the  changes,  and  the  ends  of  all  things.     Neither  give  they 
INTRODUC-    any  divine  honours  to  any  other  than  him.'     So  far  was  More  from 

T10N.  J 

sharing  the  popular  beliefs  of  his  time.  Yet  at  the  end  he  reminds 
us  that  he  does  not  in  all  respects  agree  with  the  customs  and 
opinions  of  the  Utopians  which  he  describes.  And  we  should  let 
him  have  the  benefit  of  this  saving  clause,  and  not  rudely  withdraw 
the  veil  behind  which  he  has  been  pleased  to  conceal  himself. 

Nor  is  he  less  in  advance  of  popular  opinion  in  his  political  and 
moral  speculations.  He  would  like  to  bring  military  glory  into 
contempt;  he  wou.ld  set  all  sorts  of  idle  people  to  profitable 
occupation,  including  in  the  same  class,  priests,  women,  noblemen, 
gentlemen,  and  '  sturdy  and  valiant  beggars,'  that  the  labour  of  all 
may  be  reduced  to  six  hours  a  day.  His  dislike  of  capital  punish- 
ment, and  plans  for  the  reformation  of  offenders ;  his  detestation  of 
priests  and  lawyers * ;  his  remark  that  '  although  every  one  may 
hear  of  ravenous  dogs  and  wolves  and  cruel  man-eaters,  it  is  not 
easy  to  find  states  that  are  well  and  wisely  governed,'  are  curiously 
at  variance  with  the  notions  of  his  age  and  indeed  with  his  own  life. 
There  are  many  points  in  which  he  shows  a  modern  feeling  and  a 
prophetic  insight  like  Plato.  He  is  a  sanitary  reformer ;  he  main- 
tains that  civilized  states  have  a  right  to  the  soil  of  waste  countries ; 
he  is  inclined  to  the  opinion  which  places  happiness  in  virtuous 
pleasures,  but  herein,  as  he  thinks,  not  disagreeing  from  those 
other  philosophers  who  define  virtue  to  be  a  life  according  to 
nature.  He  extends  the  idea  of  happiness  so  as  to  include  the 
happiness  of  others ;  and  he  argues  ingeniously,  '  All  men  agree 
that  we  ought  to  make  others  happy;  but  if  others,  how  much 
more  ourselves ! '  And  still  he  thinks  that  there  may  be  a  more 
excellent  way,  but  to  this  no  man's  reason  can  attain  unless  heaven 
should  inspire  him  with  a  higher  truth.  His  ceremonies  before 
marriage ;  his  humane  proposal  that  war  should  be  carried  on 
by  assassinating  the  leaders  of  the  enemy,  may  be  compared  to 
some  of  the  paradoxes  of  Plato.  He  has  a  charming  fancy,  like 
the  affinities  of  Greeks  and  barbarians  in  the  Timaeus,  that  the 
Utopians  learnt  the  language  of  the  Greeks  with  the  more  readi- 
ness because  they  were  originally  of  the  same  race  with  them.  He 
is  penetrated  with  the  spirit  of  Plato,  and  quotes  or  adapts  many 

1  Compare  his  satirical  observation :  '  They  (the  Utopians)  have  priests  of 
exceeding  holiness,  and  therefore  very  few  '  (p.  1 50). 

Sir  Thomas  Mores  Utopia.  ccxxv 

thoughts  both  from  the  Republic  and  from  the  Timaeus.  He  pre-  Republic. 
fers  public  duties  to  private,  and  is  somewhat  impatient  of  the 
importunity  of  relations.  His  citizens  have  no  silver  or  gold  of 
their  own,  but  are  ready  enough  to  pay  them  to  their  mercenaries 
(cp.  Rep.  iv.  422,  423).  There  is  nothing  of  which  he  is  more  con- 
temptuous than  the  love  of  money.  Gold  is  used  for  fetters  of 
criminals,  and  diamonds  and  pearls  for  children's  necklaces  \ 

Like  Plato  he  is  full  of  satirical  reflections  on  governments  and 
princes  ;  on  the  state  of  the  world  and  of  knowledge.  The  hero 
of  his  discourse  (Hythloday)  is  very  unwilling  to  become  a  minister 
of  state,  considering  that  he  would  lose  his  independence  and  his 
advice  would  never  be  heeded 2.  He  ridicules  the  new  logic  of  his 
time;  the  Utopians  could  never  be  made  to  understand  the 
doctrine  of  Second  Intentions s.  He  is  very  severe  on  the  sports 
of  the  gentry ;  the  Utopians  count '  hunting  the  lowest,  the  vilest, 
and  the  most  abject  part  of  butchery.'  He  quotes  the  words  of 
the  Republic  in  which  the  philosopher  is  described  '  standing  out 
of  the  way  under  a  wall  until  the  driving  storm  of  sleet  and  rain 
be  overpast,'  which  admit  of  a  singular  application  to  More's  own 
fate ;  although,  writing  twenty  years  before  (about  the  year  1514), 

1  When  the  ambassadors  came  arrayed  in  gold  and  peacocks'  feathers  '  to 
the  eyes  of  all  the  Utopians  except  very  few,  which  had  been  in  other  countries 
for  some  reasonable  cause,  all  that  gorgeousness  of  apparel  seemed  shameful 
and  reproachful.  In  so  much  that  they  most  reverently  saluted  the  vilest  and 
most  abject  of  them  for  lords — passing  over  the  ambassadors  themselves  with- 
out any  honour,  judging  them  by  their  wearing  of  golden  chains  to  be  bondmen. 
You  should  have  seen  children  also,  that  had  cast  away  their  pearls  and 
precious  stones,  when  they  saw  the  like  sticking  upon  the  ambassadors'  caps, 
dig  and  push  their  mothers  under  the  sides,  saying  thus  to  them — "  Look, 
mother,  how  great  a  lubber  doth  yet  wear  pearls  and  precious  stones,  as 
though  he  were  a  little  child  still."  But  the  mother ;  yea  and  that  also  in 
good  earnest:  "Peace,  son,"  saith  she,  "I  think  he  be  some  of  the  ambas- 
sadors' fools  " '  (p.  102). 

3  Cp.  an  exquisite  passage  at  p.  35,  of  which  the  conclusion  is  as  follows: 
'  And  verily  it  is  naturally  given  .  . .  suppressed  and  ended.' 

3  '  For  they  have  not  devised  one  of  all  those  rules  of  restrictions,  amplifica- 
tions, and  suppositions,  very  wittily  invented  in  the  small  Logicals,  which 
here  our  children  in  every  place  do  learn.  Furthermore,  they  were  never  yet 
able  to  find  out  the  second  intentions ;  insomuch  that  none  of  them  all  could 
ever  see  man  himself  in  common,  as  they  call  him,  though  he  be  (as  you  know) 
bigger  than  was  ever  any  giant,  yea,  and  pointed  to  of  us  even  with  our  finger ' 
(P-  105). 

ccxxvi  The  New  Atlantis:    The  City  of  the  Sun. 

Republic,  he  can  hardly  be  supposed  to  have  foreseen  this.    There  is  no 
IN™ON.UC*   toucn  °f  satire  which  strikes  deeper  than  his  quiet  remark  that  the 
greater  part  of  the  precepts  of  Christ  are  more  at  variance  with 
the  lives  of  ordinary  Christians  than  the  discourse  of  Utopia  \ 

The  'New  Atlantis'  is  only  a  fragment,  and  far  inferior  in 
merit  to  the  '  Utopia.'  The  work  is  full  of  ingenuity,  but  wanting 
in  creative  fancy,  and  by  no  means  impresses  the  reader  with 
a  sense  of  credibility.  In  some  places  Lord  Bacon  is  character- 
istically different  from  Sir  Thomas  More,  as,  for  example,  in  the 
external  state  which  he  attributes  to  the  governor  of  Solomon's 
House,  whose  dress  he  minutely  describes,  while  to  Sir  Thomas 
More  such  trappings  appear  simply  ridiculous.  Yet,  after  this 
programme  of  dress,  Bacon  adds  the  beautiful  trait,  '  that  he  had  a 
look  as  though  he  pitied  men.'  Several  things  are  borrowed  by 
him  from  the  Timaeus ;  but  he  has  injured  the  unity  of  style  by 
adding  thoughts  and  passages  which  are  taken  from  the  Hebrew 

The  'City  of  the  Sun,'  written  by  Campanella  (1568-1639), 
a  Dominican  friar,  several  years  after  the  'New  Atlantis'  of 
Bacon,  has  many  resemblances  to  the  Republic  of  Plato.  The 
citizens  have  wives  and  children  in  common;  their  marriages 
are  of  the  same  temporary  sort,  and  are  arranged  by  the  magis- 
trates from  time  to  time.  They  do  not,  however,  adopt  his 
system  of  lots,  but  bring  together  the  best  natures,  male  and 
female,  '  according  to  philosophical  rules.'  The  infants  until 
two  years  of  age  are  brought  up  by  their  mothers  in  public 
temples;  and  since  individuals  for  the  most  part  educate  their 
children  badly,  at  the  beginning  of  their  third  year  they  are 
committed  to  the  care  of  the  State,  and  are  taught  at  first,  not  out 
of  books,  but  from  paintings  of  all  kinds,  which  are  emblazoned 
on  the  walls  of  the  city.  The  city  has  six  interior  circuits  of 
walls,  and  an  outer  wall  which  is  the  seventh.  On  this  outer 
wall  are  painted  the  figures  of  legislators  and  philosophers,  and 

1  '  And  yet  the  most  part  of  them  is  more  dissident  from  the  manners  of  the 
world  now  a  days,  than  my  communication  was.  But  preachers,  sly  and  wily 
men,  following  your  counsel  (as  I  suppose)  because  they  saw  men  evil-willing 
to  frame  their  manners  to  Christ's  rule,  they  have  wrested  and  wried  his 
doctrine,  and,  like  a  rule  of  lead,  have  applied  it  to  men's  manners,  that  by 
some  means  at  the  least  way,  they  might  agree  together'  (p.  66). 

The  City  of  the  Sun.  ccxxvii 

on  each  of  the  interior  walls  the  symbols  or  forms  of  some  one  Republic. 

of  the  sciences  are  delineated.     The  women  are,  for  the  most    INTRODUC- 
part,  trained,  like  the  men,  in  warlike  and   other  exercises ;   but 

they  have  two  special  occupations  of  their  own.  After  a  battle, 
they  and  the  boys  soothe  and  relieve  the  wounded  warriors ; 
also  they  encourage  them  with  embraces  and  pleasant  words 
(cp.  Plato,  Rep.  v.  468).  Some  elements  of  the  Christian  or 
Catholic  religion  are  preserved  among  them.  The  life  of  the 
Apostles  is  greatly  admired  by  this  people  because  they  had 
all  things  in  common;  and  the  short  prayer  which  Jesus  Christ 
taught  men  is  used  in  their  worship.  It  is  a  duty  of  the  chief 
magistrates  to  pardon  sins,  and  therefore  the  whole  people  make 
secret  confession  of  them  to  the  magistrates,  and  they  to  their 
chief,  who  is  a  sort  of  Rector  Metaphysicus ;  and  by  this  means 
he  is  well  informed  ol  all  that  is  going  on  in  the  minds  of  men. 
After  confession,  absolution  is  granted  to  the  citizens  collectively, 
but  no  one  is  mentioned  by  name.  There  also  exists  among 
them  a  practice  of  perpetual  prayer,  performed  by  a  succession  of 
priests,  who  change  every  hour.  Their  religion  is  a  worship 
of  God  in  Trinity,  that  is  of  Wisdom,  Love  and  Power,  but 
without  any  distinction  of  persons.  They  behold  in  the  sun 
the  reflection  of  His  glory ;  mere  graven  images  they  reject, 
refusing  to  fall  under  the  '  tyranny '  of  idolatry. 

Many  details  are  given  about  their  customs  of  eating  and 
drinking,  about  their  mode  of  dressing,  their  employments,  their 
wars.  Campanella  looks  forward  to  a  new  mode  of  education, 
which  is  to  be  a  study  of  nature,  and  not  of  Aristotle.  He  would 
not  have  his  citizens  waste  their  time  in  the  consideration  of 
what  he  calls  '  the  dead  signs  of  things.'  He  remarks  that  he 
who  knows  one  science  only,  does  not  really  know  that  one 
any  more  than  the  rest,  and  insists  strongly  on  the  necessity 
of  a  variety  of  knowledge.  More  scholars  are  turned  out  in  the 
City  of  the  Sun  in  one  year  than  by  contemporary  methods  in 
ten  or  fifteen.  He  evidently  believes,  like  Bacon,  that  hence- 
forward natural  science  will  play  a  great  part  in  education,  a 
hope  which  seems  hardly  to  have  been  realized,  either  in  our  own 
or  in  any  former  age ;  at  any  rate  the  fulfilment  of  it  has  been 
long  deferred. 

There  is  a  good  deal  of  ingenuity  and  even  originality  in  this 

ccxxviii  Eliot's  Monarchy  of  Man. 

Republic,   work,   and   a  most  enlightened   spirit  pervades  it.     But  it  has 
INTRODUC-    little  or  no  charm  of  style,  and  falls  very  far  short  of  the  '  New 


Atlantis'  of  Bacon,  and  still  more  of  the  '  Utopia'  of  Sir  Thomas 
More.  It  is  full  of  inconsistencies,  and  though  borrowed  from 
Plato,  shows  but  a  superficial  acquaintance  with  his  writings.  It 
is  a  work  such  as  one  might  expect  to  have  been  written  by  a 
philosopher  and  man  of  genius  who  was  also  a  friar,  and  who  had 
spent  twenty-seven  years  of  his  life  in  a  prison  of  the  Inquisition. 
The  most  interesting  feature  of  the  book,  common  to  Plato 
and  Sir  Thomas  More,  is  the  deep  feeling  which  is  shown  by 
the  writer,  of  the  misery  and  ignorance  prevailing  among  the 
lower  classes  in  his  own  time.  Campanella  takes  note  of  Aris- 
totle's answer  to  Plato's  community  of  property,  that  in  a  society 
where  all  things  are  common,  no  individual  would  have  any 
motive  to  work  (Arist.  Pol.  ii.  5,  §  6) :  he  replies,  that  his  citizens 
being  happy  and  contented  in  themselves  (they  are  required  to 
work  only  four  hours  a  day),  will  have  greater  regard  for  their 
fellows  than  exists  among  men  at  present.  He  thinks,  like  Plato, 
that  if  he  abolishes  private  feelings  and  interests,  a  great  public 
feeling  will  take  their  place. 

Other  writings  on  ideal  states,  such  as  the  '  Oceana '  of  Harring- 
ton, in  which  the  Lord  Archon,  meaning  Cromwell,  is  described, 
not  as  he  was,  but  as  he  ought  to  have  been ;  or  the  '  Argenis '  of 
Barclay,  which  is  an  historical  allegory  of  his  own  time,  are 
too  unlike  Plato  to  be  worth  mentioning.  More  interesting  than 
either  of  these,  and  far  more  Platonic  in  style  and  thought,  is 
Sir  John  Eliot's  'Monarchy  of  Man,'  in  which  the  prisoner  of 
the  Tower,  no  longer  able  *  to  be  a  politician  in  the  land  of  his 
birth,'  turns  away  from  politics  to  view  'that  other  city  which 
is  within  him,'  and  finds  on  the  very  threshold  of  the  grave 
that  the  secret  of  human  happiness  is  the  mastery  of  self.  The 
change  of  government  in  the  time  of  the  English  Commonwealth 
set  men  thinking  about  first  principles,  and  gave  rise  to  many 
works  of  this  class. . . .  The  great  original  genius  of  Swift  owes 
nothing  to  Plato ;  nor  is  there  any  trace  in  the  conversation  or 
in  the  works  of  Dr.  Johnson  of  any  acquaintance  with  his  writings. 
He  probably  would  have  refuted  Plato  without  reading  him,  in 
the  same  fashion  in  which  he  supposed  himself  to  have  refuted 
Bishop  Berkeley's  theory  of  the  non-existence  of  matter.  If  we 

The  value  of  Ideals.  ccxxix 

except  the  so-called  English  Platonists,  or  rather  Neo-Platonists,  Republic. 
who  never  understood  their  master,  and  the  writings  of  Coleridge, 
who   was    to  some  extent  a  kindred  spirit,   Plato  has  left  no 
permanent  impression  on  English  literature. 

VII.  Human  life  and  conduct  are  affected  by  ideals  in  the  same 
way  that  they  are  aifected  by  the  examples  of  eminent  men. 
Neither  the  one  nor  the  other  are  immediately  applicable  to  prac- 
tice, but  there  is  a  virtue  flowing  from  them  which  tends  to  raise 
individuals  above  the  common  routine  of  society  or  trade,  and 
to  elevate  States  above  the  mere  interests  of  commerce  or  the 
necessities  of  self-defence.  Like  the  ideals  of  art  they  are 
partly  framed  by  the  omission  of  particulars ;  they  require  to 
be  viewed  at  a  certain  distance,  and  are  apt  to  fade  away  if  we 
attempt  to  approach  them.  They  gain  an  imaginary  distinctness 
when  embodied  in  a  State  or  in  a  system  of  philosophy,  but  they 
still  remain  the  visions  of  *a  world  unrealized.'  More  striking 
and  obvious  to  the  ordinary  mind  are  the  examples  of  great  men, 
who  have  served  their  own  generation  and  are  remembered  in 
another.  Even  in  our  own  family  circle  there  may  have  been 
some  one,  a  woman,  or  even  a  child,  in  whose  face  has  shone 
forth  a  goodness  more  than  human.  The  ideal  then  approaches 
nearer  to  us,  and  we  fondly  cling  to  it.  The  ideal  of  the  past, 
whether  of  our  own  past  lives  or  of  former  states  of  society,  has 
a  singular  fascination  for  the  minds  of  many.  Too  late  we  learn 
that  such  ideals  cannot  be  recalled,  though  the  recollection  of  them 
may  have  a  humanizing  influence  on  other  times.  But  the  abstrac- 
tions of  philosophy  are  to  most  persons  cold  and  vacant ;  they  give 
light  without  warmth ;  they  are  like  the  full  moon  in  the  heavens 
when  there  are  no  stars  appearing.  Men  cannot  live  by  thought 
alone ;  the  world  of  sense  is  always  breaking  in  upon  them.  They 
are  for  the  most  part  confined  to  a  corner  of  earth,  and  see  but 
a  little  way  beyond  their  own  home  or  place  of  abode  ;  they  '  do 
not  lift  up  their  eyes  to  the  hills ' ;  they  are  not  awake  when 
the  dawn  appears.  But  in  Plato  we  have  reached  a  height  from 
which  a  man  may  look  into  the  distance  (Rep.  iv.  445  C)  and  behold 
the  future  of  the  world  and  of  philosophy.  The  ideal  of  the 
State  and  of  the  life  of  the  philosopher ;  the  ideal  of  an  education 

ccxxx          The  future  of  the  race  and  of  the  individual. 

Republic,  continuing  through   life   and  extending  equally  to    both  sexes ; 
IN  TRioNUC"    tlie  *deal  °^ tne  umtv  and  correlation  of  knowledge  ;  the  faith  in 

good  and  immortality— are  the  vacant  forms  of  light  on  which 

Plato  is  seeking  to  fix  the  eye  of  mankind. 

VIII.  Two  other  ideals,  which  never  appeared  above  the  horizon 
in  Greek  Philosophy,  float  before  the  minds  of  men  in  our  own 
day :  one  seen  more  clearly  than  formerly,  as  though  each  year 
and  each  generation  brought  us  nearer  to  some  great  change ;  the 
other  almost  in  the  same  degree  retiring  from  view  behind  the 
laws  of  nature,  as  if  oppressed  by  them,  but  still  remaining  a 
silent  hope  of  we  know  not  what  hidden  in  the  heart  of  man.  The 
first  ideal  is  the  future  of  the  human  race  in  this  world ;  the 
second  the  future  of  the  individual  in  another.  The  first  is  the 
more  perfect  realization  of  our  own  present  life ;  the  second,  the 
abnegation  of  it :  the  one,  limited  by  experience,  the  other, 
transcending  it.  Both  of  them  have  been  and  are  powerful 
motives  of  action ;  there  are  a  few  in  whom  they  have  taken  the 
place  of  all  earthly  interests.  The  hope  of  a  future  for  the  human 
race  at  first  sight  seems  to  be  the  more  disinterested,  the  hope 
of  individual  existence  the  more  egotistical,  of  the  two  motives. 
But  when  men  have  learned  to  resolve  their  hope  of  a  future 
either  for  themselves  or  for  the  world  into  the  will  of  God — '  not 
my  will  but  Thine,'  the  difference  between  them  falls  away ;  and 
they  may  be  allowed  to  make  either  of  them  the  basis  of  their 
lives,  according  to  their  own  individual  character  or  temperament. 
There  is  as  much  faith  in  the  willingness  to  work  for  an  unseen 
future  in  this  world  as  in  another.  Neither  is  it  inconceivable 
that  some  rare  nature  may  feel  his  duty  to  another  generation, 
or  to  another  century,  almost  as  strongly  as  to  his  own,  or  that 
living  always  in  the  presence  of  God,  he  may  realize  another 
world  as  vividly  as  he  does  this. 

The  greatest  of  all  ideals  may,  or  rather  must  be  conceived  by 
us  under  similitudes  derived  from  human  qualities ;  although 
sometimes,  like  the  Jewish  prophets,  we  may  dash  away  these 
figures  of  speech  and  describe  the  nature  of  God  only  in  negatives. 
These  again  by  degrees  acquire  a  positive  meaning.  It  would 
be  well,  if  when  meditating  on  the  higher  truths  either  of 

The  ideal  of  Divine  goodness.  ccxxxi 

philosophy  or  religion,  we  sometimes  substituted  one  form  of  Republic. 
expression  for  another,  lest  through  the  necessities  of  language 
we  should  become  the  slaves  of  mere  words. 

There  is  a  third  ideal,  not  the  same,  but  akin  to  these,  which  has 
a  place  in  the  home  and  heart  of  every  believer  in  the  religion  of 
Christ,  and  in  which  men  seem  to  find  a  nearer  and  more  familiar 
truth,  the  Divine  man,  the  Son  of  Man,  the  Saviour  of  mankind, 
Who  is  the  first-born  and  head  of  the  whole  family  in  heaven  and 
earth,  in  Whom  the  Divine  and  human,  that  which  is  without  and 
that  which  is  within  the  range  of  our  earthly  faculties,  are  indisso- 
lubly  united.  Neither  is  this  divine  form  of  goodness  wholly 
separable  from  the  ideal  of  the  Christian  Church,  which  is  said  in 
the  New  Testament  to  be  '  His  body,'  or  at  variance  with  those 
other  images  of  good  which  Plato  sets  before  us.  We  see  Him  in 
a  figure  only,  and  of  figures  of  speech  we  select  but  a  few,  and 
those  the  simplest,  to  be  the  expression  of  Him.  We  behold  Him 
in  a  picture,  but  He  is  not  there.  We  gather  up  the  fragments  of 
His  discourses,  but  neither  do  they  represent  Him  as  He  truly 
was.  His  dwelling  is  neither  in  heaven  nor  earth,  but  in  the  heart 
of  man.  This  is  that  image  which  Plato  saw  dimly  in  the  distance, 
which,  when  existing  among  men,  he  called,  in  the  language  of 
Homer,  '  the  likeness  of  God '  (Rep.  vi.  501  B),  the  likeness  of  a 
nature  which  in  all  ages  men  have  felt  to  be  greater  and  better 
than  themselves,  and  which  in  endless  forms,  whether  derived 
from  Scripture  or  nature,  from  the  witness  of  history  or  from  the 
human  heart,  regarded  as  a  person  or  not  as  a  person,  with  or 
without  parts  or  passions,  existing  in  space  or  not  in  space,  is  and 
will  always  continue  to  be  to  mankind  the  Idea  of  Good. 


BOOK    I 


SOCRATES,  who  is  the  narrator.  CEPHALUS. 



And  others  who  are  mute  auditors. 

The  scene  is  laid  in  the  house  of  Cephalus  at  the  Piraeus ;  and  the  whole 
dialogue  is  narrated  by  Socrates  the  day  after  it  actually  took  place 
to  Timaeus,  Hermocrates,  Critias,  and  a  nameless  person,  who  are 
introduced  in  the  Timaeus. 

Ed.     T  WENT  down  yesterday  to  the  Piraeus  with  Glaucon  Republic 
327'   A      the  son  of  Ariston,  that  I  might  offer  up  my  prayers  to        7* 
the  goddess  * ;  and  also  because  I  wanted  to  see  in  what  SOCRATES, 
manner  they  would   celebrate    the   festival,   which   was   a 
new  thing.      I  was   delighted  with   the   procession   of  the  Crates  °f 
inhabitants ;    but  that  of  the  Thracians  was  equally,  if  not  and  Giau- 
more,  beautiful.     When  we  had  finished  our  prayers  and  conwith 
viewed  the  spectacle,  we  turned  in  the  direction  of  the  city ;  archus 
and  at  that  instant  Polemarchus  the  son  of  Cephalus  chanced  at  the 


to  catch  sight  of  us  from  a  distance  as  we  were  starting  on  festival, 
our  way  home,  and  told  his  servant  to  run  and  bid  us  wait 
for  him.     The  servant  took  hold  of  me  by  the  cloak  behind, 
and  said  :  Polemarchus  desires  you  to  wait. 

I  turned  round,  and  asked  him  where  his  master  was. 

There  he  is,  said  the  youth,  coming  after  you,  if  you  will 
only  wait. 

1  Bendis,  the  Thracian  Artemis. 

The  Home  of  Polemarchus. 








of  friends 
at  the 
house  of 

Certainly  we  will,  said  Glaucon ;  and  in  a  few  minutes 
Polemarchus  appeared,  and  with  him  Adeimantus,  Glaucon's 
brother,  Niceratus  the  son  of  Nicias,  and  several  others  who 
had  been  at  the  procession. 

Polemarchus  said  to  me :  I  perceive,  Socrates,  that  you 
and  your  companion  are  already  on  your  way  to  the  city. 

You  are  not  far  wrong,  I  said. 

But  do  you  see,  he  rejoined,  how  many  we  are  ? 

Of  course. 

And  are  you  stronger  than  all  these  ?  for  if  not,  you  will 
have  to  remain  where  you  are. 

May  there  not  be  the  alternative,  I  said,  that  we  may  per- 
suade you  to  let  us  go  ? 

But  can  you  persuade  us,  if  we  refuse  to  listen  to  you  ?  he 

Certainly  not,  replied  Glaucon. 

Then  we  are  not  going  to  listen;  of  that  you  may  be 

Adeimantus  added :  Has  no  one  told  you  of  the  torch-race  328 
on  horseback  in  honour  of  the  goddess  which  will  take  place 
in  the  evening  ? 

With  horses !  I  replied  :  That  is  a  novelty.  Will  horse- 
men carry  torches  and  pass  them  one  to  another  during  the 

Yes,  said  Polemarchus,  and  not  only  so,  but  a  festival  will 
be  celebrated  at  night,  which  you  certainly  ought  to  see. 
Let  us  rise  soon  after  supper  and  see  this  festival ;  there 
will  be  a  gathering  of  young  men,  and  we  will  have  a  good 
talk.  Stay  then,  and  do  not  be  perverse. 

Glaucon  said  :  I  suppose,  since  you  insist,  that  we  must. 

Very  good,  I  replied. 

Accordingly  we  went  with  Polemarchus  to  his  house  ;  and 
there  we  found  his  brothers  Lysias  and  Euthydemus,  and 
with  them  Thrasymachus  the  Chalcedonian,  Charmantides 
the  Paeanian,  and  Cleitophon  the  son  of  Aristonymus.  There 
too  was  Cephalus  the  father  of  Polemarchus,  whom  I  had 
not  seen  for  a  long  time,  and  I  thought  him  very  much  aged. 
He  was  seated  on  a  cushioned  chair,  and  had  a  garland  on 
his  head,  for  he  had  been  sacrificing  in  the  court ;  and  there 
were  some  other  chairs  in  the  room  arranged  in  a  semicircle, 

The  aged  Cephalus.  3 

upon  which  we  sat  down  by  him.     He  saluted  me  eagerly,   Republic 
and  then  he  said  : — 

You  don't  come  to  see  me,  Socrates,  as  often  as  you  ought :  CEPHALVS« 


If  I  were  still  able  to  go  and  see  you  I  would  not  ask  you 
to  come  to  me.  But  at  my  age  I  can  hardly  get  to  the  city, 
and  therefore  you  should  come  oftener  to  the  Piraeus.  For 
let  me  tell  you,  that  the  more  the  pleasures  of  the  body  fade 
away,  the  greater  to  me  is  the  pleasure  and  charm  of  con- 
versation. Do  not  then  deny  my  request,  but  make  our  house 
your  resort  and  keep  company  with  these  young  men ;  we 
are  old  friends,  and  you  will  be  quite  at  home  with  us. 

I  replied :  There  is  nothing  which  for  my  part  I  like  better, 
Cephalus,  than  conversing  with  aged,  men;  for  I  regard 
them  as  travellers  who  have  gone  a  journey  which  I  too  may 
have  to  go,  and  of  whom  I  ought  to  enquire,  whether  the  way 
is  smooth  and  easy,  or  rugged  and  difficult.  And  this  is  a 
question  which  I  should  like  to  ask  of  you  who  have  arrived 
at  that  time  which  the  poets  call  the  '  threshold  of  old  age ' 
— Is  life  harder  towards  the  end,  or  what  report  do  you  give 
of  it? 

329      I  will  tell  you,  Socrates,  he  said,  what  my  own  feeling  is.   Old  age  is 
Men  of  my  age  flock  together ;  we  are  birds  of  a  feather,  as  blame  for 
the  old  proverb  says ;   and  at  our  meetings  the  tale  of  my  the  troubles 
acquaintance  commonly  is — I  cannot  eat,  I  cannot  drink  ;  the 
pleasures  of  youth  and  love  are  fled  away :  there  was  a  good 
time  once,  but  now  that  is  gone,  and  life  is  no  longer  life. 
Some  complain  of  the  slights  which  are  put  upon  them  by 
relations,  and  they  will  tell  you  sadly  of  how  many  evils  their 
old  age  is  the  cause.     But  to  me,  Socrates,  these  complainers 
seem  to  blame  that  which  is  not  really  in  fault.     For  if  old 
age  were  the  cause,   I  too  being  old,  and  every  other  old 
man,  would  have  felt  as  they  do.     But  this  is  not  my  own 
experience,  nor  that  of  others  whom  I  have  known.     How 
well  I  remember  the  aged  poet  Sophocles,  when  in  answer 
to  the  question,  How  does  love  suit  with  age,  Sophocles, — 
are  you  still  the  man  you  were  ?     Peace,  he  replied ;   most  The  excel- 
gladly  have  I  escaped  the  thing  of  which  you  speak;  I  feel 
as  if  I  had  escaped  from  a  mad  and  furious  master.     His  cies. 
words  have  often  occurred  to  my  mind  since,  and  they  seem 
as  good  to  me  now  as  at  the  time  when  he  uttered  them. 

B   2 


Themistocles  and  the  Seriphian. 



It  is  ad- 
mitted that 
the  old,  if 
they  are  to 
be  comfort- 
able, must 
have  a  fair 
share  of 
goods ; 
virtue  alone 
nor  riches 
alone  can 
make  an 
old  man 

has  in- 
rather  than 
made  a 
fortune  ;  he 
is  therefore 
to  money. 

For  certainly  old  age  has  a  great  sense  of  calm  and  freedom ; 
when  the  passions  relax  their  hold,  then,  as  Sophocles  says, 
we  are  freed  from  the  grasp  not  of  one  mad  master  only, 
but  of  many.  The  truth  is,  Socrates,  that  these  regrets,  and 
also  the  complaints  about  relations,  are  to  be  attributed  to 
the  same  cause,  which  is  not  old  age,  but  men's  characters 
and  tempers ;  for  he  who  is  of  a  calm  and  happy  nature  will 
hardly  feel  the  pressure  of  age,  but  to  him  who  is  of  an 
opposite  disposition  youth  and  age  are  equally  a  burden. 

I  listened  in  admiration,  and  wanting  to  draw  him  out, 
that  he  might  go  on — Yes,  Cephalus,  I  said ;  but  I  rather 
suspect  that  people  in  general  are  not  convinced  by  you 
when  you  speak  thus ;  they  think  that  old  age  sits  lightly  upon 
you,  not  because  of  your  happy  disposition,  but  because  you 
are  rich,  and  wealth  is  well  known  to  be  a  great  comforter. 

You  are  right,  he  replied ;  they  are  not  convinced :  and 
there  is  something  in  what  they  say;  not,  however,  so  much 
as  they  imagine.  I  might  answer  them  as  Themistocles 
answered  the  Seriphian  who  was  abusing  him  and  saying 
that  he  was  famous,  not  for  his  own  merits  but  because  he 
was  an  Athenian  :  '  If  you  had  been  a  native  of  my  country  330 
or  I  of  yours,  neither  of  us  would  have  been  famous.'  And  to 
those  who  are  not  rich  and  are  impatient  of  old  age,  the 
same  reply  may  be  made ;  for  to  the  good  poor  man  old  age 
cannot  be  a  light  burden,  nor  can  a  bad  rich  man  ever  have 
peace  with  himself. 

May  I  ask,  Cephalus,  whether  your  fortune  was  for  the 
most  part  inherited  or  acquired  by  you  ? 

Acquired  !  Socrates ;  do  you  want  to  know  how  much  I 
acquired  ?  In  the  art  of  making  money  I  have  been  midway 
between  my  father  and  grandfather:  for  my  grandfather, 
whose  name  I  bear,  doubled  and  trebled  the  value  of  his 
patrimony,  that  which  he  inherited  being  much  what  I 
possess  now ;  but  my  father  Lysaniasi  reduced  the  property 
below  what  it  is  at  present :  and  I  shall  be  satisfied  if  I  leave 
to  these  my  sons  not  less  but  a  little  more  than  I  received. 

That  was  why  I  asked  you  the  question,  I  replied,  be- 
cause I  see  that  you  are  indifferent  about  money,  which 
is  a  characteristic  rather  of  those  who  have  inherited  their 
fortunes  than  of  those  who  have  acquired  them ;  the  makers 

The  real  Advantages  of  Wealth. 

of  fortunes  have  a  second  love  of  money  as  a  creation  of  their  Republic 

own,  resembling  the  affection  of  authors  for  their  own  poems, 

or  of  parents  for  their  children,  besides  that  natural  love  of  SOCRATE& 

it  for  the  sake  of  use  and  profit  which  is  common  to  them 

and  all  men.     And  hence  they  are  very  bad  company,  for 

they  can  talk  about  nothing  but  the  praises  of  wealth. 

That  is  true,  he  said. 

Yes,  that  is  very  true,  but  may  I  ask  another  question  ? —  The  advan- 
What  do  you  consider  to  be  the  greatest  blessing  which  you 
have  reaped  from  your  wealth  ? 

One,  he  said,  of  which  I  could  not  expect  easily  to  con-  The  fear  of 
vince  others.      For  let  me  tell  you,  Socrates,  that  when  a  fhefch0*_nd 
man  thinks  himself  to  be  near  death,  fears  and  cares  enter  sciousness 
into  his  mind  which  he  never  had  before  :   the  tales  of  a  of  sm  be~ 

come  more 

world  below  and  the  punishment  which  is  exacted  there  of  vivid  in  old 
deeds  done  here  were  once  a  laughing  matter  to  him,  but  ase  |  and  to 
now  he  is  tormented  with  the  thought  that  they  may  be  true  :  frees  a  man 
either  from  the  weakness  of  age,  or  because  he  is  now  drawing  from  many 
nearer  to  that  other  place,  he  has  a  clearer  view  of  these 
things ;  suspicions  and  alarms  crowd  thickly  upon  him,  and 
he  begins  to  reflect  and  consider  what  wrongs  he  has  done  to 
others.  And  when  he  finds  that  the  sum  of  his  transgres- 
sions is  great  he  will  many  a  time  like  a  child  start  up  in  his 
sleep  for  fear,  arid  he  is  filled  with  dark  forebodings.  But 
331  to  him  who  is  conscious  of  no  sin,  sweet  hope,  as  Pindar  Thead- 
charmingly  says,  is  the  kind  nurse  of  his  age  : 

'  Hope,'  he  says, '  cherishes  the  soul  of  him  who  lives  in  justice 
and  holiness,  and  is  the  nurse  of  his  age  and  the  companion 
of  his  journey ;— hope  which  is  mightiest  to  sway  the  restless  soul 
of  man.' 

How  admirable  are  his  words  !  And  the  great  blessing  of 
riches,  I  do  not  say  to  every  man,  but  to  a  good  man,  is, 
that  he  has  had  no  occasion  to  deceive  or  to  defraud  others, 
either  intentionally  or\mintentionally ;  and  when  he  departs  to 
the  world  below  he  is  not  in  any  apprehension  about  offerings 
due  to  the  gods  or  debts  which  he  owes  to  men.  Now  to 
this  peace  of  mind  the  possession  of  wealth  greatly  contri- 
butes; and  therefore  I  say,  that,  setting  one  thing  against 
another,  of  the  many  advantages  which  wealth  has  to  give, 
to  a  man  of  sense  this  is  in  my  opinion  the  greatest. 

The  first  Definition  of  Justice 




to  speak 
truth  and 
pay  your 

This  is  the 
of  Simon- 
ides.     But 
you  ought 
not  on  all 
to  do 
What  then 
was  his 

Well  said,  Cephalus,  I  replied  ;  but  as  concerning  justice, 
what  is  it? — to  speak  the  truth  and  to  pay  your  debts — no 
more  than  this  ?  And  even  to  this  are  there  not  exceptions  ? 
Suppose  that  a  friend  when  in  his  right  mind  has  deposited 
arms  with  me  and  he  asks  for  them  when  he  is  not  in  his 
right  mind,  ought  I  to  give  them  back  to  him  ?  No  one  would 
say  that  I  ought  or  that  I  should  be  right  in  doing  so,  any 
more  than  they  would  say  that  I  ought  always  to  speak  the 
truth  to  one  who  is  in  his  condition. 

You  are  quite  right,  he  replied. 

But  then,  I  said,  speaking  the  truth  and  paying  your  debts 
is  not  a  correct  definition  of  justice. 

Quite  correct,  Socrates,  if  Simonides  is  to  be  believed, 
said  Polemarchus  interposing. 

I  fear,  said  Cephalus,  that  I  must  go  now,  for  I  have  to 
look  after  the  sacrifices,  and  I  hand  over  the  argument  to 
Polemarchus  and  the  company. 

Is  not  Polemarchus  your  heir  ?  I  said. 

To  be  sure,  he  answered,  and  went  away  laughing  to  the 

Tell  me  then,  O  thou  heir  of  the  argument,  what  did 
Simonides  say,  and  according  to  you  truly  say,  about 
justice  ? 

He  said  that  the  re-payment  of  a  debt  is  just,  and  in  saying 
so  he  appears  to  me  to  be  right. 

I  should  be  sorry  to  doubt  the  word  of  such  a  wise  and  in- 
spired man,  but  his  meaning,  though  probably  clear  to  you, 
is  the  reverse  of  clear  to  me.  For  he  certainly  does  not 
mean,  as  we  were  just  now  saying,  that  I  ought  to  return  a 
deposit  of  arms  or  of  anything  else  to  one  who  asks  for  it 
when  he  is  not  in  his  right  senses ;  and  yet  a  deposit  cannot  332 
be  denied  to  be  a  debt. 


Then  when  the  person  who  asks  me  is  not  in  his  right 
mind  I  am  by  no  means  to  make  the  return  ? 

Certainly  not. 

When  Simonides  said  that  the  repayment  of  a  debt  was 
justice,  he  did  not  mean  to  include  that  case  ? 

Certainly  not ;  for  he  thinks  that  a  friend  ought  always  to 
do  good  to  a  friend  and  never  evil. 

is  examined  and  found  wanting. 

You  mean  that  the  return  of  a  deposit  of  gold  which  is  to  Republic 
the  injury  of  the  receiver,  if  the  two  parties  are  friends,  is  not        L 
the  repayment  of  a  debt, — that  is  what  you  would  imagine 
him  to  say  ? 


And  are  enemies  also  to  receive  what  we  owe  to  them  ? 

To  be  sure,  he  said,  they  are  to  receive  what  we  owe 
them,  and  an  enemy,  as  I  take  it,  owes  to  an  enemy  that 
which  is  due  or  proper  to  him — that  is  to  say,  evil. 

Simonides,  then,  after  the  manner  of  poets,  would  seem  to  He  may 
have  spoken  darkly  of  the  nature  of  justice ;    for  he  really  ^™  "^ 
meant  to  say  that  justice  is  the  giving  to  each  man  what  is  justice  gives 
proper  to  him,  and  this  he  termed  a  debt.  to  frie.nds 

That  must  have  been  his  meaning,  he  said*  good  and 

By  heaven  !   I  replied ;  and  if  we  asked  him  what  due  or  to  enemies 
proper  thing  is  given  by  medicine,  and  to  whom,  what  answer  ^^ 1S 
do  you  think  that  he  would  make  to  us  ? 

He  would  surely  reply  that  medicine  gives  drugs  and  meat 
and  drink  to  human  bodies. 

And  what  due  or  proper  thing  is  given  by  cookery,  and  to 

Seasoning  to  food. 

And  what  is  that  which  justice  gives,  and  to  whom  ? 

If,  Socrates,  we  are  to  be  guided  at  all  by  the  analogy  of 
the  preceding  instances,  then  justice  is  the  art  which  gives 
good  to  friends  and  evil  to  enemies. 

That  is  his  meaning  then  ? 

I  think  so. 

And  who  is  best  able  to  do  good  to  his  friends  and  evil  to  niustra- 
his  enemies  in  time  of  sickness  ? 

The  physician. 

Or  when  they  are  on  a  voyage,  amid  the  perils  of  the  sea  ? 

The  pilot. 

And  in  what  sort  of  actions  or  with  a  view  to  what  result  is 
the  just  man  most  able  to  do  harm  to  his  enemy  and  good 
to  his  friend  ? 

In  going  to  war  against  the  one  anxd  in  making  alliances 
with  the  other. 

But  when  a  man  is  well,  my  dear  Polemarchus,  there  is  no 
need  of  a  physician  ? 

8  A  further  cross-examination. 

Republic  No. 

And  he  who  is  not  on  a  voyage  has  no  need  of  a  pilot  ? 



CHUS.  Then  in  time  of  peace  justice  will  be  of  no  use  ? 

I  am  very  far  from  thinking  so. 

You  think  that  justice  may  be  of  use  in  peace  as  well  as  333 
in  war  ? 


Like  husbandry  for  the  acquisition  of  corn  ? 


Or  like  shoemaking  for  the  acquisition  of  shoes, — that  is 
what  you  mean  ? 


And  what  similar  use  or  power  of  acquisition  has  justice  in 
time  of  peace  ? 
justice  is          In  contracts,  Socrates,  justice  is  of  use. 

contracts          ^n(*  ^v  contracts  vou  mean  partnerships  ? 


But  is  the  just  man  or  the  skilful  player  a  more  useful  and 
better  partner  at  a  game  of  draughts  ? 

The  skilful  player. 

And  in  the  laying  of  bricks  and  stones  is  the  just  man  a 
more  useful  or  better  partner  than  the  builder  ? 

Quite  the  reverse. 

Then  in  what  sort  of  partnership  is  the  just  man  a  better 
partner  than  the  harp-player,  as  in  playing  the  harp  the  harp- 
player  is  certainly  a  better  partner  than  the  just  man  ? 

In  a  money  partnership. 

Yes,  Polemarchus,  but  surely  not  in  the  use  of  money ;  for 
you  do  not  want  a  just  man  to  be  your  counsellor  in  the  pur- 
chase or  sale  of  a  horse  ;  a  man  who  is  knowing  about  horses 
would  be  better  for  that,  would  he  not  ? 


And  when  you  want  to  buy  a  ship,  the  shipwright  or  the 
pilot  would  be  better  ? 


Then  what  is  that  joint  use  of  silver  or  gold  in  which  the 
especially     just  man  is  to  be  preferred  ? 
keephi^oT       When  you  want  a  deposit  to  be  kept  safely, 
deposits.          You  mean  when  money  is  not  wanted,  but  allowed  to  lie  ? 

Justice  turns  out  to  be  a  Thief.  9 

Precisely.  Republic 

That  is  to  say,  justice  is  useful  when  money  is  useless  ? 

That  is  the  inference.  SOCRATES, 


And  when  you  want  to  keep  a  pruning-hook  safe,  then  jus-    c«us. 
tice  is  useful  to  the  individual  and  to  the  state  ;  but  when  you   But  not  in 
want  to  use  it,  then  the  art  of  the  vine-dresser  ?  the  use  of 


Clearly.  and  if  so, 

And  when  you  want  to  keep  a  shield  or  a  lyre,  and  not  to  justice  is 

use  them,  you  would  say  that  justice  is  useful  ;  but  when  you          ^ 

want  to  use  them,   then   the  art  of  the  soldier  or  of  the  money  or 
musician?  *« 

Certainly.  useless. 

And  so  of  all  other  things  ;  —  justice  is  useful  when  they 
are  useless,  and  useless  when  they  are  useful  ? 

That  is  the  inference. 

Then  justice  is  not  good  for  much.  But  let  us  consider 
this  further  point  :  Is  not  he  who  can  best  strike  a  blow  in 
a  boxing  match  or  in  any  kind  of  fighting  best  able  to  ward 
off  a  blow? 


And  he  who  is  most  skilful  in  preventing  or  escaping1 
from  a  disease  is  best  able  to  create  one  ? 


And  he  is  the  best  guard  of  a  camp  who  is  best  able  to  A  new 
334  steal  a  march  upon  the  enemy?  ^™\  °*s 

Certainly.  not  he  who 

Then  he  who  is  a  good  keeper  of  anything  is  also  a  good  is  best  able 

to  do  good 
best  able  to 

That,  I  suppose,  is  to  be  inferred.  do  evil? 

Then  if  the  just  man  is  good  at  keeping  money,  he  is 
good  at  stealing  it. 

That  is  implied  in  the  argument. 

Then  after  all  the  just  man  has  turned  out  to  be  a  thief. 
And  this  is  a  lesson  which  I  suspect  you  must  have  learnt 
out  of  Homer;  for  he,  speaking  of  Autolycus,  the  maternal 
grandfather  of  Odysseus,  who  is  a  favourite  of  his,  affirms 


He  was  excellent  above  all  men  in  theft  and  perjury. 

And  so,   you  and  Homer  and   Simonides  are  agreed  that 

1  Reading  <f>v\&£a0Gcu  KOI  \a0fTv,  ovroy,  K.T.\. 


More  difficulties. 




Justice  an 
art  of  theft 
to  be  prac- 
tised for  the 
good  of 
friends  and 
the  harm  of 
But  who  are 
friends  and 
enemies  ? 

will  some- 

of  the  defi- 

justice  is  an  art  of  theft ;  to  be  practised  however  '  for  the 
good  of  friends  and  for  the  harm  of  enemies/ — that  was 
what  you  were  saying  ? 

No,  certainly  not  that,  though  I  do  not  now  know  what  I 
did  say ;  but  I  still  stand  by  the  latter  words. 

Well,  there  is  another  question :  By  friends  and  enemies 
do  we  mean  those  who  are  so  really,  or  only  in  seeming  ? 

Surely,  he  said,  a  man  may  be  expected  to  love  those  whom 
he  thinks  good,  and  to  hate  those  whom  he  thinks  evil. 

Yes,  but  do  not  persons  often  err  about  good  and  evil: 
many  who  are  not  good  seem  to  be  so,  and  conversely  ? 

That  is  true. 

Then  to  them  the  good  will  be  enemies  and  the  evil  will 
be  their  friends  ? 


And  in  that  case  they  will  be  right  in  doing  good  to  the 
evil  and  evil  to  the  good  ? 


But  the  good  are  just  and  would  not  do  an  injustice  ? 


Then  according  to  your  argument  it  is  just  to  injure  those 
who  do  no  wrong  ? 

Nay,  Socrates ;  the  doctrine  is  immoral. 

Then  I  suppose  that  we  ought  to  do  good  to  the  just  and 
harm  to  the  unjust? 

I  like  that  better. 

But  see  the  consequence : — Many  a  man  who  is  ignorant  of 
human  nature  has  friends  who  are  bad  friends,  and  in  that 
case  he  ought  to  do  harm  to  them ;  and  he  has  good  enemies 
whom  he  ought  to  benefit ;  but,  if  so,  we  shall  be  saying  the 
very  opposite  of  that  which  we  affirmed  to  be  the  meaning  of 

Very  true,  he  said ;  and  I  think  that  we  had  better  correct 
an  error  into  which  we  seem  to  have  fallen  in  the  use  of  the 
words  '  friend '  and  '  enemy.' 

What  was  the  error,  Polemarchus  ?  I  asked. 

We  assumed  that  he  is  a  friend  who  seems  to  be  or  who 
is  thought  good. 

And  how  is  the  error  to  be  corrected  ? 

We  should  rather  say  that  he  is  a  friend  who  is,  as  well  as 

A  new  colour  given  to  the  definition.  1  1 

335  seems,  good  ;  and  that  he  who  seems  only,  and  is  not  good,  Republic 
only  seems  to  be  and  is  not  a  friend  ;  and  of  an  enemy  the 

same  may  be  said.  SOCRATES, 


You  would  argue  that  the  good  are  our  friends  and  the  CHUS- 

bad  our  enemies  ?  To  aP- 

we  must 

And  instead  of  saying  simply  as  we  did  at  first,  that  it  is  addreaiity. 

just  to  do  good  to  our  friends  and  harm  to  our  enemies,  we  friend  who 

should  further  say:  It  is  just  to  do  good  to  our  friends  when  'is'  as  well 

they  are  good  and  harm  to  our  enemies  when  they  are  evil  ?  ^o^And 

Yes,  that  appears  to  me  to  be  the  truth.  we  should 

But  ought  the  just  to  injure  any  one  at  all  ?  our^ooV0 

Undoubtedly  he  ought  to  injure  those  who  are  both  wicked  friends  and 

and  his  enemies.  harm  to 

When  horses  are  injured,  are  they  improved  or  deterio-  enemies. 

The  latter.  To  harm 

Deteriorated,  that  is  to  say,  in  the  good  qualities  of  horses,  men  is  to 

not  Of  dogs?  Zm^and 

Yes,  of  horses.  to  injure 

And  dogs  are  deteriorated  in  the  good  qualities  of  dogs,  makethem 

and  not  of  horses  ?  unjust.  But 

And  will  not  men  who  are  injured  be  deteriorated  in  that  injustice. 
which  is  the  proper  virtue  of  man  ? 


And  that  human  virtue  is  justice  ? 

To  be  sure. 

Then  men  who  are  injured  are  of  necessity  made  unjust? 

That  is  the  result. 

But  can  the  musician  by  his  art  make  men  unmusical  ?          niustra- 

Certainly  not.  tions- 

Or  the  horseman  by  his  art  make  them  bad  horsemen  ? 


And  can  the  just  by  justice  make  men  unjust,  or  speaking 
generally,  can  the  good  by  virtue  make  them  bad  ? 

Assuredly  not. 

Any  more  than  heat  can  produce  cold  ? 

It  cannot. 

Or  drought  moisture  ? 


Failure  of  the  Definition. 





The  saying 
is  not  to  be 
to  any  good 
or  wise 

The  bru- 
tality of 

Clearly  not. 

Nor  can  the  good  harm  any  one  ? 


And  the  just  is  the  good  ? 


Then  to  injure  a  friend  or  any  one  else  is  not  the  act  of  a 
just  man,  but  of  the  opposite,  who  is  the  unjust  ? 

I  think  that  what  you  say  is  quite  true,  Socrates. 

Then  if  a  man  says  that  justice  consists  in  the  repayment 
of  debts,  and  that  good  is  the  debt  which  a  just  man  owes  to 
his  friends,  and  evil  the  debt  which  he  owes  to  his  enemies, 
— to  say  this  is  not  wise ;  for  it  is  not  true,  if,  as  has  been 
clearly  shown,  the  injuring  of  another  can  be  in  no  case  just. 

I  agree  with  you,  said  Polemarchus. 

Then  you  and  I  are  prepared  to  take  up  arms  against  any 
one  who  attributes  such  a  saying  to  Simonides  or  Bias  or 
Pittacus,  or  any  other  wise  man  or  seer  ? 

I  am  quite  ready  to  do  battle  at  your  side,  he  said. 

Shall  I  tell  you  whose  I  believe  the  saying  to  be  ?  336 


I  believe  that  Periander  or  Perdiccas  or  Xerxes  or  Is- 
menias  the  Theban,  or  some  other  rich  and  mighty  man, 
who  had  a  great  opinion  of  his  own  power,  was  the  first  to 
say  that  justice  is  'doing  good  to  your  friends  and  harm  to 
your  enemies.' 

Most  true,  he  said. 

Yes,  I  said ;  but  if  this  definition  of  justice  also  breaks 
down,  what  other  can  be  offered  ? 

Several  times  in  the  course  of  the  discussion  Thrasymachus 
had  made  an  attempt  to  get  the  argument  into  his  own  hands, 
and  had  been  put  down  by  the  rest  of  the  company,  who 
wanted  to  hear  the  end.  But  when  Polemarchus  and  I 
had  done  speaking  and  there  was  a  pause,  he  could  no 
longer  hold  his  peace ;  and,  gathering  himself  up,  he  came 
at  us  like  a  wild  beast,  seeking  to  devour  us.  We  were 
quite  panic-stricken  at  the  sight  of  him. 

He  roared  out  to  the  whole  company :  What  folly,  Socrates, 
has  taken  possession  of  you  all  ?  And  why,  sillybillies,  do 
you  knock  under  to  one  another  ?  I  say  that  if  you  want 
really  to  know  what  justice  is,  you  should  not  only  ask  but 

The  Irony  of  Socrates.  13 

answer,  and  you  should  not  seek  honour  to  yourself  from  Republic 
the  refutation  of  an  opponent,  but  have  your  own  answer ; 
for  there  is  many  a  one  who  can  ask  and  cannot  answer. 
And  now  I  will  not  have  you  say  that  justice  is  duty  or  ad- 
vantage or  profit  or  gain  or  interest,  for  this  sort  of  nonsense 
will  not  do  for  me ;  I  must  have  clearness  and  accuracy. 

I  was  panic-stricken  at  his  words,  and  could  not  look  at 
him  without  trembling.  Indeed  I  believe  that  if  I  had  not 
fixed  my  eye  upon  him,  I  should  have  been  struck  dumb: 
but  when  I  saw  his  fury  rising,  I  looked  at  him  first,  and  was 
therefore  able  to  reply  to  him. 

Thrasymachus,  I  said,  with  a  quiver,  don't  be  hard  upon  us. 
Polemarchus  and  I  may  have  been  guilty  of  a  little  mistake 
in  the  argument,  but  I  can  assure  you  that  the  error  was  not 
intentional.  If  we  were  seeking  for  a  piece  of  gold,  you 
would  not  imagine  that  we  were  '  knocking  under  to  one 
another/  and  so  losing  our  chance  of  finding  it.  And  why, 
when  we  are  seeking  for  justice,  a  thing  more  precious  than 
many  pieces  of  gold,  do  you  say  that  we  are  weakly  yielding 
to  one  another  and  not  doing  our  utmost  to  get  at  the  truth  ? 
Nay,  my  good  friend,  we  are  most  willing  and  anxious  to  do 
so,  but  the  fact  is  that  we  cannot.  And  if  so,  you  people  who 
know  all  things  should  pity  us  and  not  be  angry  with  us. 
337  How  characteristic  of  Socrates !  he  replied,  with  a  bitter 
laugh ; — that's  your  ironical  style  !  Did  I  not  foresee — have 
I  not  already  told  you,  that  whatever  he  was  asked  he  would 
refuse  to  answer,  and  try  irony  or  any  other  shuffle,  in  order 
that  he  might  avoid  answering  ? 

You  are  a  philosopher,  Thrasymachus,  I  replied,  and  well  Socrates 
know  that  if  you  ask  a  person  what  numbers  make  up  twelve,   a^answer 
taking  care  to  prohibit  him  whom  you  ask  from  answering  twice  if  all  true 

six,  or  three  times  four,  or  six  times  two,  or  four  times  three,   answe-rs ,are 

.  excluded. 

'  for  this  sort  of  nonsense  will  not  do  for  me/ — then  obviously, 

if  that  is  your  way  of  putting  the  question,  no  one  can  answer 
you.     But  suppose  that  he  were  to  retort,   'Thrasymachus,   Thrasyma- 
what  do  you  mean?     If  one  of  these  numbers  which  you  saUed^with 
interdict  be  the  true  answer  to  the  question,  am  I  falsely  his  own 
to  say  some  other  number  which  is  not  the  right  one  ?—  is  weaP°ns- 
that  your  meaning  ? ' — How  would  you  answer  him  ? 
Just  as  if  the  two  cases  were  at  all  alike  !  he  said. 

The  Irony  of  Socrates  is 





The  So- 
phist de- 
mands pay- 
ment for 
his  instruc- 
tions.  The 
are  very 
willing  to 

knows  little 
or  nothing : 
how  can  he 
answer  ? 
And  he  is 
deterred  by 
the  inter- 
dict of 

Why  should  they  not  be  ?  I  replied ;  and  even  if  they 
are  not,  but  only  appear  to  be  so  to  the  person  who  is  asked, 
ought  he  not  to  say  what  he  thinks,  whether  you  and  I  forbid 
him  or  not  ? 

I  presume  then  that  you  are  going  to  make  one  of  the 
interdicted  answers  ? 

I  dare  say  that  I  may,  notwithstanding  the  danger,  if  upon 
reflection  I  approve  of  any  of  them. 

But  what  if  I  give  you  an  answer  about  justice  other  and 
better,  he  said,  than  any  of  these  ?  What  do  you  deserve  to 
have  done  to  you  ? 

Done  to  me  ! — as  becomes  the  ignorant,  I  must  learn  from 
the  wise — that  is  what  I  deserve  to  have  done  to  me. 

What,  and  no  payment !  a  pleasant  notion  ! 

I  will  pay  when  I  have  the  money,  I  replied. 

But  you  have,  Socrates,  said  Glaucon :  and  you,  Thrasyma- 
chus,  need  be  under  no  anxiety  about  money,  for  we  will  all 
make  a  contribution  for  Socrates. 

Yes,  he  replied,  and  then  Socrates  will  do  as  he  always 
does — refuse  to  answer  himself,  but  take  and  pull  to  pieces 
the  answer  of  some  one  else. 

Why,  my  good  friend,  I  said,  how  can  any  one  answer  who 
knows,  and  says  that  he  knows,  just  nothing ;  and  who,  even 
if  he  has  some  faint  notions  of  his  own,  is  told  by  a  man 
of  authority  not  to  utter  them  ?  The  natural  thing  is,  that 
the  speaker  should  be  some  one  like  yourself  who  pro-  338 
fesses  to  know  and  can  tell  what  he  knows.  Will  you  then 
kindly  answer,  for  the  edification  of  the  company  and  of 
myself  ? 

Glaucon  and  the  rest  of  the  company  joined  in  my  request, 
and  Thrasymachus,  as  any  one  might  see,  was  in  reality  eager 
to  speak ;  for  he  thought  that  he  had  an  excellent  answer,  and 
would  distinguish  himself.  But  at  first  he  affected  to  insist 
on  my  answering ;  at  length  he  consented  to  begin.  Behold, 
he  said,  the  wisdom  of  Socrates ;  he  refuses  to  teach  himself) 
and  goes  about  learning  of  others,  to  -whom  he  never  even 
says  Thank  you. 

That  I  learn  of  others,  I  replied,  is  quite  true ;  but  that 
I  am  ungrateful  I  wholly  deny.  Money  I  have  none,  and 
therefore  I  pay  in  praise,  which  is  all  I  have ;  and  how  ready 

too  much  for  Thrasymachus.  1  5 

I  am  to  praise  any  one  who  appears  to  me  to  speak  well  you  Republic 
will  very  soon  find  out  when  you  answer  ;  for  I  expect  that 
you  will  answer  well. 

Listen,  then,  he  said  ;  I  proclaim  that  justice  is  nothing 

else  than  the  interest  of  the  stronger.    And  now  why  do  you  The  dffini' 

_      _  _  tion  of 

not  praise  me  ?    But  of  course  you  won  t.  Thrasy- 

Let  me  first  understand  you,  I  replied.    Justice,  as  you  say,   machus: 
is  the  interest  of  the  stronger.     What,  Thrasymachus,  is  the  t^nterest 
meaning  of  this?     You   cannot  mean  to  say  that  because  of  the 
Polydamas,  the  pancratiast,  is  stronger   than  we  are,  and  JJJJCT?61" 
finds  the  eating  of  beef  conducive  to  his  bodily  strength,  that 
to  eat  beef  is  therefore  equally  for  our  good  who  are  weaker 
than  he  is,  and  right  and  just  for  us  ? 

That's  abominable  of  you,  Socrates  ;  you  take  the  words  in 
the  sense  which  is  most  damaging  to  the  argument. 

Not  at  all,  my  good  sir,  I  said  ;  I  am  trying  to  understand 
them  ;  and  I  wish  that  you  would  be  a  little  clearer. 

Well,  he  said,  have  you  never  heard  that  forms  of  govern- 
ment differ  ;  there  are  tyrannies,  and  there  are  democracies, 
and  there  are  aristocracies  ? 

Yes,  I  know. 

And  the  government  is  the  ruling  power  in  each  state  ? 


And  the  different  forms  of  government  make  laws  demo-  Socrates 
cratical,  aristocratical,  tyrannical,  with  a  view  to  their  several  ^J^18 
interests  ;  and  these  laws,  which  are  made  by  them  for  their  machus  to 
own   interests,  are  the  justice  which  they  deliver  to  their  explain  his 
subjects,  and  him  who  transgresses  them  they  punish  as  a 
breaker  of  the  law,  and  unjust.     And  that  is  what  I  mean 
when  I  say  that  in  all  states  there  is  the  same  principle  of 
justice,  which  is  the  interest  of  the  government  ;  and  as  the 
339  government   must   be    supposed    to  have    power,    the   only 
reasonable  conclusion  is,  that  everywhere  there  is  one  prin- 
ciple of  justice,  which  is  the  interest  of  the  stronger. 

Now  I  understand  you,  I  said  ;  and  whether  you  are  right 
or  not  I  will  try  to  discover.  But  let  me  remark,  that  in 
defining  justice  you  have  yourself  used  the  word  'interest* 
which  you  forbade  me  to  use.  It  is  true,  however,  that 
in  your  definition  the  words  '  of  the  stronger  '  are  added. 

A  small  addition,  you  must  allow,  he  said. 


Are  Words  always  to  be  used 




He  is  dis- 
with  the 
nation ;  for 
rulers  may 

And  then 
the  justice 
makes  a 
will  turn 
out  to  be 
the  reverse 
of  the  in- 
terest of  the 

Great  or  small,  never  mind  about  that:  we  must  first 
enquire  whether  what  you  are  saying  is  the  truth.  Now 
we  are  both  agreed  that  justice  is  interest  of  some  sort,  but 
you  go  on  to  say  '  of  the  stronger J ;  about  this  addition  I  am 
not  so  sure,  and  must  therefore  consider  further. 


I  will ;  and  first  tell  me,  Do  you  admit  that  it  is  just  for 
subjects  to  obey  their  rulers  ? 

I  do. 

But  are  the  rulers  of  states  absolutely  infallible,  or  are  they 
sometimes  liable  to  err  ? 

To  be  sure,  he  replied,  they  are  liable  to  err. 

Then  in  making  their  laws  they  may  sometimes  make 
them  rightly,  and  sometimes  not  ? 


When  they  make  them  rightly,  they  make  them  agreeably 
to  their  interest ;  when  they  are  mistaken,  contrary  to  their 
interest ;  you  admit  that  ? 


And  the  laws  which  they  make  must  be  obeyed  by  their 
subjects, — and  that  is  what  you  call  justice  ? 


Then  justice,  according  to  your  argument,  is  not  only 
obedience  to  the  interest  of  the  stronger  but  the  reverse  ? 

What  is  that  you  are  saying  ?  he  asked. 

I  am  only  repeating  what  you  are  saying,  I  believe.  But 
let  us  consider :  Have  we  not  admitted  that  the  rulers  may 
be  mistaken  about  their  own  interest  in  what  they  command, 
and  also  that  to  obey  them  is  justice?  Has  not  that  been 
admitted  ? 


Then  you  must  also  have  acknowledged  justice  not  to  be  for 
the  interest  of  the  stronger,  when  the  rulers  unintentionally 
command  things  to  be  done  which  are  to  their  own  injury. 
For  if,  as  you  say,  justice  is  the  obedience  which  the  subject 
renders  to  their  commands,  in  that  case,  O  wisest  of  men,  is 
there  any  escape  from  the  conclusion  that  the  weaker  are 
commanded  to  do,  not  what  is  for  the  interest,  but  what  is  for 
the  injury  of  the  stronger? 

Nothing  can  be  clearer,  Socrates,  said  Polemarchus. 

in  their  strictest  sense? 

340  Yes,  said  Cleitophon,  interposing,  if  you  are  allowed  to  be 
his  witness. 

But  there  is  no  need  of  any  witness,  said  Polemarchus, 
for  Thrasymachus  himself  acknowledges  that  rulers  may 
sometimes  command  what  is  not  for  their  own  interest,  and 
that  for  subjects  to  obey  them  is  justice. 

Yes,  Polemarchus,  —  Thrasymachus  said  that  for  subjects 
to  do  what  was  commanded  by  their  rulers  is  just. 

Yes,  Cleitophon,  but  he  also  said  that  justice  is  the 
interest  of  the  stronger,  and,  while  admitting  both  these 
propositions,  he  further  acknowledged  that  the  stronger  may 
command  the  weaker  who  are  his  subjects  to  do  what  is  not 
for  his  own  interest  ;  whence  follows  that  justice  is  the  injury 
quite  as  much  as  the  interest  of  the  stronger. 

But,  said  Cleitophon,  he  meant  by  the  interest  of  the 
stronger  what  the  stronger  thought  to  be  his  interest,  —  this 
was  what  the  weaker  had  to  do  ;  and  this  was  affirmed  by 
him  to  be  justice. 

Those  were  not  his  words,  rejoined  Polemarchus. 

Never  mind,  I  replied,  if  he  now  says  that  they  are,  let  us 
accept  his  statement.  Tell  me,  Thrasymachus,  I  said,  did 
you  mean  by  justice  what  the  stronger  thought  to  be  his 
interest,  whether  really  so  or  not  ? 

Certainly  not,  he  said.  Do  you  suppose  that  I  call  him 
who  is  mistaken  the  stronger  at  the  time  when  he  is 
mistaken  ? 

Yes,  I  said,  my  impression  was  that  you  did  so,  when  you 
admitted  that  the  ruler  was  not  infallible  but  might  be  some- 
times mistaken. 

You  argue  like  an  informer,  Socrates.  Do  you  mean,  for 
example,  that  he  who  is  mistaken  about  the  sick  is  a  phy- 
sician in  that  he  is  mistaken  ?  or  that  he  who  errs  in 
arithmetic  or  grammar  is  an  arithmetician  or  grammarian 
at  the  time  when  he  is  making  the  mistake,  in  respect  of  the 
mistake?  True,  we  say  that  the  physician  or  arithmetician 
or  grammarian  has  made  a  mistake,  but  this  is  only  a  way  of 
speaking;  for  the  fact  is  that  neither  the  grammarian  nor 
any  other  person  of  skill  ever  makes  a  mistake  in  so  far  as 
he  is  what  his  name  implies  ;  they  none  of  them  err  unless 
their  skill  fails  them,  and  then  they  cease  to  be  skilled  artists. 





tries  to 
make  a 
way  of 
escape  for 
machus by 
the  words 
'  thought 
to  be.' 

This  eva- 
sion is  re- 
by  Thra- 
symachus ; 

who  adopts 
line  of 
defence  : 
'  No  artist 
or  ruler  is 
ever  mis- 
taken qud 
artist  or 


The  argument  with  Thrasymachus 



The  essen- 
tial mean- 
ing of 
words  dis- 
from  their 

No  artist  or  sage  or  ruler  errs  at  the  time  when  he  is  what 
his  name  implies ;  though  he  is  commonly  said  to  err,  and  I 
adopted  the  common  mode  of  speaking.  But  to  be  perfectly 
accurate,  since  you  are  such  a  lover  of  accuracy,  we  should  say 
that  the  ruler,  in  so  far  as  he  is  a  ruler,  is  unerring,  and, 
being  unerring,  always  commands  that  which  is  for  his  own  34 1 
interest;  and  the  subject  is  required  to  execute  his  com- 
mands; and  therefore,  as  I  said  at  first  and  now  repeat, 
justice  is  the  interest  of  the  stronger. 

Indeed,  Thrasymachus,  and  do  I  really  appear  to  you  to 
argue  like  an  informer  ? 

Certainly,  he  replied. 

And  do  you  suppose  that  I  ask  these  questions  with  any 
design  of  injuring  you  in  the  argument  ? 

Nay,  he  replied,  '  suppose '  is  not  the  word — I  know  it ;  but 
you  will  be  found  out,  and  by  sheer  force  of  argument  you 
will  never  prevail. 

I  shall  not  make  the  attempt,  my  dear  nian ;  but  to  avoid 
any  misunderstanding  occurring  between  us  in  future,  let  me 
ask,  in  what  sense  do  you  speak  of  a  ruler  or  stronger  whose 
interest,  as  you  were  saying,  he  being  the  superior,  it  is  just 
that  the  inferior  should  execute — is  he  a  ruler  in  the  popular 
or  in  the  strict  sense  of  the  term  ? 

In  the  strictest  of  all  senses,  he  said.  And  now  cheat  and 
play  the  informer  if  you  can  ;  I  ask  no  quarter  at  your  hands. 
But  you  never  will  be  able,  never. 

And  do  you  imagine,  I  said,  that  I  am  such  a  madman  as 
to  try  and  cheat  Thrasymachus?  I  might  as  well  shave 
a  lion. 

Why,  he  said,  you  made  the  attempt  a  minute  ago,  and  you 

Enough,  I  said,  of  these  civilities.  It  will  be  better  that  I 
should  ask  you  a  question  :  Is  the  physician,  taken  in  that 
strict  sense  of  which  you  are  speaking,  a  healer  of  the  sick 
or  a  maker  of  money?  And  remember  that  I  am  now 
speaking  of  the  true  physician. 

A  healer  of  the  sick,  he  replied. 

And  the  pilot — that  is  to  say,  the  true  pilot — is  he  a  captain 
of  sailors  or  a  mere  sailor  ? 

A  captain  of  sailors. 

is  drawing  to  a  conclusion.  19 

The  circumstance  that  he  sails  in  the  ship  is  not  to  be  Republic 
taken  into  account  ;  neither  is  he  to  be  called  a  sailor  ;  the 

name  pilot  by  which  he  is  distinguished  has  nothing  to  do 
with  sailing,  but  is  significant  of  his  skill  and  of  his  authority 
over  the  sailors. 

Very  true,  he  said. 

Now,  I  said,  every  art  has  an  interest  ? 


For  which  the  art  has  to  consider  and  provide  ? 

Yes,  that  is  the  aim  of  art. 

And  the  interest  of  any  art  is  the  perfection  of  it  —  this  and 
nothing  else? 

What  do  you  mean  ? 

I  mean  what  I  may  illustrate  negatively  by  the  example  of 
the  body.  Suppose  you  were  to  ask  me  whether  the  body  is 
self-sufficing  or  has  wants,  I  should  reply  :  Certainly  the  body 
has  wants  ;  for  the  body  may  be  ill  and  require  to  be  cured, 
and  has  therefor^  interests  to  which  the  art  of  medicine 
ministers  ;  and  this  is  the  origin  and  intention  of  medicine, 
as  you  will  acknowledge.  Am  I  not  right  ? 
342  Quite  right,  he  replied. 

But  is   the  art  of  medicine  or  any  other  art  faulty  or  Art  has  no 
deficient  in  any  quality  in  the  same  way  that  the  eye  may  be  ^J^be 
deficient  in  sight  or  the  ear  fail  of  hearing,  and  therefore  corrected, 
requires  another  art  to  provide  for  the  interests  of  seeing  j^*6^. 
and  hearing  —  has  art  in  itself,  I  say,  any  similar  .  liability  to  traneous 
fault  or  defect,  and  does  every  art  require  another  supple-  mterest- 
mentary  art  to  provide  for  its  interests,  and  that  another  and 
another  without  end  ?     Or  have  the  arts  to  look  only  after 
their  own  interests  ?     Or  have  they  no  need  either  of  them- 
selves or  of  another  ?  —  having  no  faults  or  defects,  they  have 
no  need  to  correct  them,  either  by  the  exercise  of  their  own 
art  or  of  any  other  ;  they  have  only  to  consider  the  interest 
of  their  subject-matter.      For  every  art  remains  pure  and 
faultless  while  remaining  true  —  that  is  to  say,  while  perfect 
and  unimpaired.     Take  the  words  in  your  precise  sense,  and 
tell  me  whether  I  am  not  right. 

Yes,  clearly. 

Then  medicine  does  not  consider  the  interest  of  medicine,   lUustra- 
but  the  interest  of  the  body  ? 

C  2 


When  he  suddenly  creates  a  diversion. 




The  dis- 
ness  of 

The  impu- 
dence of 

True,  he  said. 

Nor  does  the  art  of  horsemanship  consider  the  interests  of 
the  art  of  horsemanship,  but  the  interests  of  the  horse ; 
neither  do  any  other  arts  care  for  themselves,  for  they  have 
no  needs ;  they  care  only  for  that  which  is  the  subject  of 
their  art  ? 

True,  he  said. 

But  surely,  Thrasymachus,  the  arts  are  the  superiors  and 
rulers  of  their  own  subjects? 

To  this  he  assented  with  a  good  deal  of  reluctance. 

Then,  I  said,  no  science  or  art  considers  or  enjoins  the 
interest  of  the  stronger  or  superior,  but  only  the  interest 
of  the  subject  and  weaker  ? 

He  made  an  attempt  to  contest  this  proposition  also,  but 
finally  acquiesced. 

Then,  I  continued,  no  physician,  in  so  far  as  he  is  a 
physician,  considers  his  own  good  in  what  he  prescribes,  but 
the  good  of  his  patient ;  for  the  true  physician  is  also  a  ruler 
having  the  human  body  as  a  subject,  and  is  not  a  mere 
money-maker ;  that  has  been  admitted  ? 


And  the  pilot  likewise,  in  the  strict  sense  of  the  term,  is  a 
ruler  of  sailors  and  not  a  mere  sailor  ? 

That  has  been  admitted. 

And  such  a  pilot  and  ruler  will  provide  and  prescribe  for 
the  interest  of  the  sailor  who  is  under  him,  and  not  for 
his  own  or  the  ruler's  interest  ? 

He  gave  a  reluctant  '  Yes.' 

Then,  I  said,  Thrasymachus,  there  is  no  one  in  any  rule 
who,  in  so  far  as  he  is  a  ruler,  considers  or  enjoins  what  is 
for  his  own  interest,  but  always  what  is  for  the  interest  of  his 
subject  or  suitable  to  his  art ;  to  that  he  looks,  and  that  alone 
he  considers  in  everything  which  he  says  and  does. 

When  we  had  got  to  this  point  in  the  argument,  and  every  343 
one  saw  that  the  definition  of  justice  had  been  completely 
upset,  Thrasymachus,  instead  of  replying  to  me,  said  :   Tell 
me,  Socrates,  have  you  got  a  nurse  ? 

Why  do  you  ask  such  a  question,  I  said,  when  you  ought 
rather  to  be  answering  ? 

Because  she  leaves  you  to  snivel,  and  never  wipes  your 

Instead  of  answering  questions  he  makes  a  speech.  21 

nose  :   she  has  not  even  taught  you  to  know  the  shepherd  Republic 
from  the  sheep. 

What  makes  you  say  that  ?  I  replied. 
Because  you  fancy  that  the  shepherd  or  neatherd  fattens 
or  tends  the  sheep  or  oxen  with  a  view  to  their  own  good  Thrasyma- 

,_  .  °  chus  dilates 

and   not  to  the  good  of  himself  or  his  master  ;    and   you  upon  the 
further  imagine  that  the  rulers  of  states,  if  they  are   true  advantages 
rulers,  never  think  of  their  subjects  as  sheep,  and  that  they 
are  not  studying  their  own  advantage  day  and  night.     Oh, 
no  ;    and   so   entirely  astray  are  you   in  your   ideas  about 
the  just  and  unjust  as  not  even  to  know  that  justice  and  the 
just  are  in  reality  another's  good  ;  that  is  to  say,  the  interest 
of  the  ruler  and  stronger,  and  the  loss  of  the  subject  and 
servant  ;  and  injustice  the  opposite  ;  for  the  unjust  is  lord 
over  the  truly  simple  and  just:    he   is  the  stronger,  and 
his  subjects  do  what  is  for  his  interest,  and  minister  to  his 
happiness,  which  is  very  far  from  being  their  own.    Consider 
further,  most  foolish  Socrates,  that  the  just  is  always  a  loser 
in   comparison   with   the   unjust.      First  of  all,    in   private 
contracts  :    wherever  the  unjust  is  the   partner  of  the  just 
you  will   find   that,  when  the  partnership  is  dissolved,  the 
unjust  man  has  always  more  and  the  just  less.     Secondly, 
in  their  dealings  with  the  State  :  when  there  is  an  income-tax, 
the  just  man  will  pay  more  and  the  unjust  less  on  the  same 
amount  of  income  ;  and  when  there  is  anything  to  be  received 
the  one  gains  nothing  and  the  other  much.      Observe  also  especially 
what  happens  when  they  take  an  office  ;  there  is  the  just  man  ^j1^^' 
neglecting  his  affairs  and  perhaps  suffering  other  losses,  and  great  scale. 
getting  nothing  out  of  the  public,  because  he  is  just  ;  more- 
over he  is  hated  by  his  friends  and  acquaintance  for  refusing 
to  serve  them  in  unlawful  ways.     But  all  this  is  reversed 
in  the  case  of  the  unjust  man.     I  am  speaking,  as  before,  of 
344  injustice  on  a  large  scale  in  which  the  advantage  of  the  unjust 
is  most  apparent  ;  and  my  meaning  will  be  most  clearly  seen 
if  we  turn  to  that  highest  form  of  injustice  in  which  the 
criminal  is  the  happiest  of  men,  and  the  sufferers  or  those 
who  refuse  to  do  injustice  are  the  most  miserable  —  that  is  to  Tyranny. 
say  tyranny,  which  by  fraud  and  force  takes  away  the  pro- 
perty of  others,  not  little  by  little  but  wholesale  ;   compre- 
hending  in   one,   things  sacred  as  well  as  profane,  private 


Thrasymachus  in  the  hands  of  Socrates. 


CHUS.    ' 


wants  to 

run  away, 

but  is  de- 
tained  by 

the  com- 


and  public  ;  for  which  acts  of  wrong,  if  he  were  detected 
perpetrating  any  one  of  them  singly,  he  would  be  punished 
ancj  incur  great  disgrace  —  they  who  do  such  wrong  in  par- 
ticular  cases  are  called  robbers  of  temples,  and  man-stealers 
and  burglars  and  swindlers  and  thieves.  But  when  a  man 
besides  taking  away  the  money  of  the  citizens  has  made 
slaves  of  them,  then,  instead  of  these  names  of  reproach,  he 
is  termed  happy  and  blessed,  not  only  by  the  citizens  but  by 
all  who  hear  of  his  having  achieved  the  consummation  of 
injustice.  For  mankind  censure  injustice,  fearing  that  they 
may  be  the  victims  of  it  and  not  because  they  shrink  from 
committing  it.  And  thus,  as  I  have  shown,  Socrates,  in- 
justice, when  on  a  sufficient  scale,  has  more  strength  and 
freedom  and  mastery  than  justice  ;  and,  as  I  said  at  first, 
justice  is  the  interest  of  the  stronger,  whereas  injustice  is 
a  man's  own  profit  and  interest. 

Thrasymachus,  when  he  had  thus  spoken,  having,  like  a 
bath-man,  deluged  our  ears  with  his  words,  had  a  mind  to  go 
away.  But  the  company  would  not  let  him;  they  insisted 
tnat  ne  snouid  remain  and  defend  his  position  ;  and  I  myself 
added  my  own  humble  request  that  he  would  not  leave  us. 
Thrasymachus,  I  said  to  him,  excellent  man,  how  suggestive 


are  your  remarks  !  And  are  you  going  to  run  away  before 
you  have  fairly  taught  or  learned  whether  they  are  true  or 
not  ?  Is  the  attempt  to  determine  the  way  of  man's  life  so 
small  a  matter  in  your  eyes  —  to  determine  how  life  may  be 
passed  by  each  one  of  us  to  the  greatest  advantage  ? 

And  do  I  differ  from  you,  he  said,  as  to  the  importance  of 
the  enquiry  ? 

You  appear  rather,  I  replied,  to  have  no  care  or  thought 
about  us,  Thrasymachus  —  whether  we  live  better  or  worse 
from  not  knowing  what  you  say  you  know,  is  to  you  a  matter 
of  indifference.  Prithee,  friend,  do  not  keep  your  knowledge  345 
to  yourself;  we  are  a  large  party;  and  any  benefit  which  you 
confer  upon  us  will  be  amply  rewarded.  For  my  own  part  I 
openly  declare  that  I  am  not  convinced,  and  that  I  do  not 
believe  injustice  to  be  more  gainful  than  justice,  even  if  un- 
controlled and  allowed  to  have  free  play.  For,  granting  that 
there  may  be  an  unjust  man  who  is  able  to  commit  injustice 
either  by  fraud  or  force,  still  this  does  not  convince  me  of  the 

The  art  of  payment.  23 

superior  advantage  of  injustice,  and  there  may  be  others  who  Republic 
are  in  the  same  predicament  with  myself.     Perhaps  we  may       L 
be  wrong ;  if  so,  you  in  your  wisdom  should  convince  us  that  ^^1 
we  are  mistaken  in  preferring  justice  to  injustice.  CHUS. 

And  how  am  I  to  convince  you,  he  said,  if  you  are  not  The  swag- 
already  convinced  by  what  I  have  just  said ;  what  more  can 
I  do  for  you  ?    Would  you  have  me  put  the  proof  bodily  into  chus. 
your  souls  ? 

Heaven  forbid  !  I  said ;  I  would  only  ask  you  to  be  con- 
sistent ;  or,  if  you  change,  change  openly  and  let  there  be  no 
deception.  For  I  must  remark,  Thrasymachus,  if  you  will 
recall  what  was  previously  said,  that  although  you  began  by 
defining  the  true  physician  in  an  exact  sense,  you  did  not 
observe  a  like  exactness  when  speaking  of  the  shepherd ; 
you  thought  that  the  shepherd  as  a  shepherd  tends  the  sheep 
not  with  a  view  to  their  own  good,  but  like  a  mere  diner  or 
banquetter  with  a  view  to  the  pleasures  of  the  table ;  or, 
again,  as  a  trader  for  sale  in  the  market,  and  not  as  a  shep- 
herd. Yet  surely  the  art  of  the  shepherd  is  concerned  only 
with  the  good  of  his  subjects ;  he  has  only  to  provide  the 
best  for  them,  since  the  perfection  of  the  art  is  already  en- 
sured whenever  all  the  requirements  of  it  are  satisfied.  And 
that  was  what  I  was  saying  just  now  about  the  ruler.  I  con- 
ceived that  the  art  of  the  ruler,  considered  as  ruler,  whether 
in  a  state  or  in  private  life,  could  only  regard  the  good  of  his 
flock  or  subjects  ;  whereas  you  seem  to  think  that  the  rulers 
in  states,  that  is  to  say,  the  true  rulers,  like  being  in  authority. 

Think  !    Nay,  I  am  sure  of  it. 

Then  why  in  the  case  of  lesser  offices  do  men  never  take 

them  willingly  without  payment,  unless  under  the  idea  that 

346  they  govern   for  the   advantage   not   of  themselves  but  of 

others  ?    Let  me  ask  you  a  question  :   Are  not  the  several  The  arts 
arts   different,   by  reason  of  their  each  having  a  separate 
function  ?    And,  my  dear  illustrious  friend,  do  say  what  you  tions  and 
think,  that  we  may  make  a  little  progress.  bTcon-* 

Yes,  that  is  the  difference,  he  replied.  founded 

And  each  art  gives  us  a  particular  good  and  not  merely  a  JJJJ^f^L 
general  one — medicine,  for  example,  gives  us  health  ;  navi-  ment  which 
gation,  safety  at  sea,  and  so  on  ?  *  °™ 

Yes,  he  said. 




The  true 
ruler  or 
artist  seeks, 
not  his  own 
but  the 

Governments  rule  for  their  subjects  good, 

And  the  art  of  payment  has  the  special  function  of  giving 
pay :  but  we  do  not  confuse  this  with  other  arts,  any  more 
than  the  art  of  the  pilot  is  to  be  confused  with  the  art  of 
medicine,  because  the  health  of  the  pilot  may  be  improved  by 
a  sea  voyage.  You  would  not  be  inclined  to  say,  would  you, 
that  navigation  is  the  art  of  medicine,  at  least  if  we  are  to 
adopt  your  exact  use  of  language  ? 

Certainly  not. 

Or  because  a  man  is  in  good  health  when  he  receives  pay 
you  would  not  say  that  the  art  of  payment  is  medicine  ? 

I  should  not. 

Nor  would  you  say  that  medicine  is  the  art  of  receiving 
pay  because  a  man  takes  fees  when  he  is  engaged  in  healing  ? 

Certainly  not. 

And  we  have  admitted,  I  said,  that  the  good  of  each  art  is 
specially  confined  to  the  art  ? 


Then,  if  there  be  any  good  which  all  artists  have  in  com- 
mon, that  is  to  be  attributed  to  something  of  which  they  all 
have  the  common  use  ? 

True,  he  replied. 

And  when  the  artist  is  benefited  by  receiving  pay  the  ad- 
vantage is  gained  by  an  additional  use  of  the  art  of  pay, 
which  is  not  the  art  professed  by  him  ? 

He  gave  a  reluctant  assent  to  this. 

Then  the  pay  is  not  derived  by  the  several  artists  from 
their  respective  arts.  But  the  truth  is,  that  while  the  art  of 
medicine  gives  health,  and  the  art  of  the  builder  builds  a 
house,  another  art  attends  them  which  is  the  art  of  pay. 
The  various  arts  may  be  doing  their  own  business  and 
benefiting  that  over  which  they  preside,  but  would  the  artist 
receive  any  benefit  from  his  art  unless  he  were  paid  as  well  ? 

I  suppose  not. 

But  does  he  therefore  confer  no  benefit  when  he  works  for 
nothing  ? 

Certainly,  he  confers  a  benefit. 

Then  now,  Thrasymachus,  there  is  no  longer  any  doubt 
that  neither  arts  nor  governments  provide  for  their  own 
interests ;  but,  as  we  were  before  saying,  they  rule  and  pro- 
vide for  the  interests  of  their  subjects  who  are  the  weaker 

and  must  therefore  be  paid.  25 

and  not  the  stronger — to  their  good  they  attend  and  not  to   Republic 
the  good  of  the  superior.     And  this  is  the  reason,  my  dear 
Thrasymachus,  why,  as  I  was  just  now  saying,   no  one  is 
willing  to  govern ;   because  no  one  likes  to  take  in  hand  the  perfection 
reformation  of  evils  which  are  not  his  concern  without  re-  of  his  art; 
347  muneration.     For,    in   the   execution   of  his  work,    and   in  ^  j^ere 
giving  his  orders  to  another,  the  true  artist  does  not  regard  must  be 
his  own  interest,  but  always  that  of  his  subjects ;   and  there-  paid' 
fore  in  order  that  rulers  may  be  willing  to  rule,  they  must  be 
paid  in  one  of  three  modes  of  payment,  money,  or  honour,  or 
a  penalty  for  refusing. 

What  do  you  mean,  Socrates  ?  said  Glaucon.    The  first  two  Three 
modes  of  payment  are  intelligible  enough,  but  what  the  penalty  n^°^s  of 
is  I  do  not  understand,  or  how  a  penalty  can  be  a  payment,      rulers, 

You  mean  that  you  do  not  understand  the  nature  of  this  ™^J 
payment  which  to  the  best  men  is  the  great  inducement  to  and  a 
rule  ?     Of  course  you  know  that  ambition  and  avarice  are 
held  to  be,  as  indeed  they  are,  a  disgrace  ?  rule. 

Very  true. 

And  for  this  reason,  I  said,  money  and  honour  have  no 
attraction  for  them;    good  men  do  not  wish  to  be  openly 
demanding  payment  for  governing  and  so  to  get  the  name  of 
hirelings,   nor  by  secretly  helping  themselves  out  of  the 
public  revenues  to  get  the  name  of  thieves.     And  not  being 
ambitious  they  do  not  care  about  honour.     Wherefore  neces- 
sity must  be  laid  upon  them,  and  they  must  be  induced  to 
serve  from  the  fear  of  punishment.     And  this,  as  I  imagine,   The  penai- 
is  the  reason  why  the  forwardness  to  take  office,  instead  of  Jviiof  be- 
waiting  to  be  compelled,  has   been  deemed  dishonourable,   ing  ruled 
Now  the  worst  part  of  the  punishment  is  that  he  who  refuses  fe^ 
to  rule  is  liable  to  be  ruled  by  one  who  is  worse  than  himself. 
And  the  fear  of  this,  as  I  conceive,  induces  the  good  to  take 
office,  not  because  they  would,  but  because  they  cannot  help 
— not  under  the  idea  that  they  are  going  to  have  any  benefit 
or  enjoyment  themselves,  but  as  a  necessity,  and  because  Inadt 
they  are  not  able  to  commit  the  task  of  ruling  to  any  one  composed 
who  is  better  than  themselves,  or  indeed  as  good.    For  there  wholly  of 

.  .  good  men 

is  reason  to  think  that  if  a  city  were  composed  entirely  of  there  would 
good  men,  then  to  avoid  office  would  be  as  much  an  object  be  a  great 
of  contention  as  to  obtain  office  is  at  present;  then  we  should  ness  to  rule. 


Thrasymachus  is  put  to  the  question. 




chus main- 
tains that 
the  life  of 
the  unjust 
is  better 
than  the 
life  of  the 

A  paradox 
still  more 

have  plain  proof  that  the  true  ruler  is  not  meant  by  nature 
to  regard  his  own  interest,  but  that  of  his  subjects;  and 
every  one  who  knew  this  would  choose  rather  to  receive  a 
benefit  from  another  than  to  have  the  trouble  of  conferring 
one.  So  far  am  I  from  agreeing  with  Thrasymachus  that 
justice  is  the  interest  of  the  stronger.  This  latter  question 
need  not  be  further  discussed  at  present ;  but  when  Thrasy- 
machus says  that  the  life  of  the  unjust  is  more  advantageous 
than  that  of  the  just,  his  new  statement  appears  to  me  to  be 
of  a  far  more  serious  character.  Which  of  us  has  spoken 
truly  ?  And  which  sort  of  life,  Glaucon,  do  you  prefer  ? 

I  for  my  part  deem  the  life  of  the  just  to  be  the  more 
advantageous,  he  answered. 

Did   you   hear  all   the   advantages  of  the  unjust  which  348 
Thrasymachus  was  rehearsing? 

Yes,  I  heard  him,  he  replied,  but  he  has  not  convinced  me. 

Then  shall  we  try  to  find  some  way  of  convincing  him,  if 
we  can,  that  he  is  saying  what  is  not  true  ? 

Most  certainly,  he  replied. 

If,  I  said,  he  makes  a  set  speech  and  we  make  another 
recounting  all  the  advantages  of  being  just,  and  he  answers 
and  we  rejoin,  there  must  be  a  numbering  and  measuring  of 
the  goods  which  are  claimed  on  either  side,  and  in  the 
end  we  shall  want  judges  to  decide ;  but  if  we  proceed  in 
our  enquiry  as  we  lately  did,  by  making  admissions  to  one 
another,  we  shall  unite  the  offices  of  judge  and  advocate 
in  our  own  persons. 

Very  good,  he  said. 

And  which  method  do  I  understand  you  to  prefer  ?  I  said. 

That  which  you  propose. 

Well,  then,  Thrasymachus,  I  said,  suppose  you  begin 
at  the  beginning  and  answer  me.  You  say  that  perfect 
injustice  is  more  gainful  than  perfect  justice  ? 

Yes,  that  is  what  I  say,  and  I  have  given  you  my  reasons. 

And  what  is  your  view  about  them  ?  Would  you  call  one 
of  them  virtue  and  the  other  vice  ? 


I  suppose  that  you  would  call  justice  virtue  and  injustice  vice? 

What  a  charming  notion !  So  likely  too,  seeing  that  I 
affirm  injustice  to  be  profitable  and  justice  not. 

The  just  aims  at  moderation,  not  at  excess.  27 

What  else  then  would  you  say  ?  Republic 

The  opposite,  he  replied. 

And  would  you  call  justice  vice?  T^sm*. 

No,  I  would  rather  say  sublime  simplicity.  CHUS- 

Then  would  you  call  injustice  malignity?  thatinjus- 

No ;  I  would  rather  say  discretion.  ^u^ 

And  do  the  unjust  appear  to  you  to  be  wise  and  good  ? 

Yes,  he  said ;  at  any  rate  those  of  them  who  are  able  to  be 
perfectly  unjust,  and  who  have  the  power  of  subduing  states 
and  nations ;  but  perhaps  you  imagine  me  to  be  talking 
of  cutpurses.  Even  this  profession  if  undetected  has  ad- 
vantages, though  they  are  not  to  be  compared  with  those  of 
which  I  was  just  now  speaking. 

I  do  not  think  that  I  misapprehend  your  meaning,  Thrasy- 
machus,  I  replied ;  but  still  I  cannot  hear  without  amazement 
that  you  class  injustice  with  wisdom  and  virtue,  and  justice 
with  the  opposite. 

Certainly,  I  do  so  class  them. 

Now,  I  said,  you  are  on  more  substantial  and  almost 
unanswerable  ground ;  for  if  the  injustice  which  you  were 
maintaining  to  be  profitable  had  been  admitted  by  you  as  by 
others  to  be  vice  and  deformity,  an  answer  might  have  been 
given  to  you  on  received  principles ;  but  now  I  perceive  that 
349  you  will  call  injustice  honourable  and  strong,  and  to  the 
unjust  you  will  attribute  all  the  qualities  which  were  attributed 
by  us  before  to  the  just,  seeing  that  you  do  not  hesitate  to 
rank  injustice  with  wisdom  and  virtue. 

You  have  guessed  most  infallibly,  he  replied. 

Then  I  certainly  ought  not  to  shrink  from  going  through 
with  the  argument  so  long  as  I  have  reason  to  think  that  you, 
Thrasymachus,  are  speaking  your  real  mind ;  for  I  do  believe 
that  you  are  now  in  earnest  and  are  not  amusing  yourself  at 
our  expense. 

I  may  be  in  earnest  or  not,  but  what  is  that  to  you  ? — to 
refute  the  argument  is  your  business. 

Very  true,  I  said  ;  that  is  what  I  have  to  do  :    But  will  you  refuted  by 
be  so  good  as  answer  yet  one  more  question?    Does  the  *e  analogy 
just  man  try  to  gain  any  advantage  over  the  just  ? 

Far  otherwise;  if  he  did  he  would  not  be  the  simple 
amusing  creature  which  he  is. 


No  art  aims  at  excess. 



The  just 
tries  to  ob- 
tain an  ad- 
over  the 
unjust,  but 
not  over 
the  just ; 
the  unjust 
over  both 
just  and 


And  would  he  try  to  go  beyond  just  action  ? 

He  would  not. 

And  how  would  he  regard  the  attempt  to  gain  an  advantage 
over  the  unjust ;  would  that  be  considered  by  him  as  just  or 
unjust  ? 

He  would  think  it  just,  and  would  try  to  gain  the  advantage ; 
but  he  would  not  be  able. 

Whether  he  would  or  would  not  be  able,  I  said,  is  not 
to  the  point.  My  question  is  only  whether  the  just  man, 
while  refusing  to  have  more  than  another  just  man,  would 
wish  and  claim  to  have  more  than  the  unjust? 

Yes,  he  would. 

And  what  of  the  unjust — does  he  claim  to  have  more  than 
the  just  man  and  to  do  more  than  is  just  ? 

Of  course,  he  said,  for  he  claims  to  have  more  than  all  men. 

And  the  unjust  man  will  strive  and  struggle  to  obtain  more 
than  the  unjust  man  or  action,  in  order  that  he  may  have 
more  than  all  ? 


We  may  put  the  matter  thus,  I  said — the  just  does  not 
desire  more  than  his  like  but  more  than  his  unlike,  whereas 
the  unjust  desires  more  than  both  his  like  and  his  unlike  ? 

Nothing,  he  said,  can  be  better  than  that  statement. 

And  the  unjust  is  good  and  wise,  and  the  just  is  neither? 

Good  again,  he  said. 

And  is  not  the  unjust  like  the  wise  and  good  and  the 
just  unlike  them  ? 

Of  course,  he  said,  he  who  is  of  a  certain  nature,  is  like 
those  who  are  of  a  certain  nature ;  he  who  is  not,  not. 

Each  of  them,  I  said,  is  such  as  his  like  is  ? 

Certainly,  he  replied. 

Very  good,  Thrasymachus,  I  said ;  and  now  to  take  the 
case  of  the  arts  :  you  would  admit  that  one  man  is  a  musician 
and  another  not  a  musician  ? 


And  which  is  wise  and  which  is  foolish  ? 

Clearly  the  musician  is  wise,  and  he  who  is  not  a  musician 
is  foolish. 

And  he  is  good  in  as  far  as  he  is  wise,  and  bad  in  as  far  as 
he  is  foolish  ? 

The  final  overthrow  of  Thrasymachus.  29 

Yes.  Republic 

And  you  would  say  the  same  sort  of  thing  of  the  physician  ? 



And  do  you  think,  my  excellent  friend,  that  a  musician    c»us. 
when  he  adjusts  the  lyre  would  desire  or  claim  to  exceed  or 
go  beyond  a  musician  in  the  tightening  and  loosening  the 
strings  ? 

I  do  not  think  that  he  would. 

But  he  would  claim  to  exceed  the  non-musician  ? 

Of  course. 

350  And  what  would  you  say  of  the  physician  ?  In  prescribing 
meats  and  drinks  would  he  wish  to  go  beyond  another 
physician  or  beyond  the  practice  of  medicine  ? 

He  would  not. 

But  he  would  wish  to  go  beyond  the  non-physician  ? 


And   about    knowledge    and   ignorance  in  general;    see  The  artist 
whether  you  think  that  any  man  who  has  knowledge  ever  J^j^ 
would  wish  to  have  the  choice  of  saying  or  doing  more  than  limits  of 
another  man  who  has  knowledge.     Would  he  not  rather  say  his  art : 
or  do  the  same  as  his  like  in  the  same  case  ? 

That,  I  suppose,  can  hardly  be  denied. 

And  what  of  the  ignorant  ?  would  he  not  desire  to  have 
more  than  either  the  knowing  or  the  ignorant  ? 

I  dare  say. 

And  the  knowing  is  wise  ? 


And  the  wise  is  good  ? 


Then  the  wise  and  good  will  not  desire  to  gain  more  than 
his  like,  but  more  than  his  unlike  and  opposite  ? 

I  suppose  so. 

Whereas  the  bad  and  ignorant  will  desire  to  gain  more 
than  both  ? 


But  did  we  not  say,  Thrasymachus,  that  the  unjust  goes 
beyond  both  his  like  and  unlike?  Were  not  these  your  words? 

They  were. 

And  you  also  said  that  the  just  will  not  go  beyond  his 
like  but  his  unlike  ?  man  does 

30  Thrasymachus  and  Socrates. 

Republic  Yes. 

L  Then  the  just  is  like  the  wise  and  good,  and  the  unjust  like 

SOCRATES,      tne  evji  an(j  ignorant  ? 


CHUS.  That  is  the  inference, 

not  exceed        ^nd  eacn  of  them  is  such  as  his  like  is? 

the  limits  of 

other  just         That  was  admitted. 

men.  Then  the  just  has  turned  out  to  be  wise  and  good  and  the 

unjust  evil  and  ignorant. 

Thrasyma-        Thrasymachus  made  all  these  admissions,  not  fluently,  as 
spiring^and  *  repeat  them,  but  with  extreme  reluctance;    it  was  a  hot 
even  blush-  summer's   day,  and   the   perspiration  poured  from   him   in 
torrents;    and    then  I  saw  what  I  had  never  seen  before, 
Thrasymachus    blushing.      As   we  were    now   agreed   that 
justice  was  virtue  and  wisdom,  and  injustice  vice  and  ignor- 
ance, I  proceeded  to  another  point : 

Well,  I  said,  Thrasymachus,  that  matter  is  now  settled; 
but  were  we  not  also  saying  that  injustice  had  strength; 
do  you  remember  ? 

Yes,  I  remember,  he  said,  but  do  not  suppose  that  I 
approve  of  what  you  are  saying  or  have  no  answer;  if 
however  I  were  to  answer,  you  would  be  quite  certain  to 
accuse  me  of  haranguing ;  therefore  either  permit  me  to  have 
my  say  out,  or  if  you  would  rather  ask,  do  so,  and  I  will 
answer  'Very  good/  as  they  say  to  story-telling  old  women, 
and  will  nod  'Yes*  arid  'No/ 

Certainly  not,  I  said,  if  contrary  to  your  real  opinion. 
Yes,  he  said,  I  will,  to  please  you,  since  you  will  not  let 
me  speak.     What  else  would  you  have  ? 

Nothing  in  the  world,  I  said;  and  if  you  are  so  disposed  I 
will  ask  and  you  shall  answer. 

Then  I  will  repeat  the  question  which  I  asked  before,  in 
order  that  our  examination  of  the  relative  nature  of  justice  351 
and  injustice  may  be  carried  on  regularly.  A  statement  was 
made  that  injustice  is  stronger  and  more  powerful  than 
justice,  but  now  justice,  having  been  identified  with  wisdom 
and  virtue,  is  easily  shown  to  be  stronger  than  injustice,  if 
injustice  is  ignorance;  this  can  no  longer  be  questioned  by 
any  one.  But  I  want  to  view  the  matter,  Thrasymachus,  in 
a  different  way:  You  would  not  deny  that  a  state  may  be 

Injustice  a  principle  of  weakness  and  disunion.  31 

unjust   and   may   be    unjustly  attempting   to   enslave   other  Republic 
states,   or   may  have   already  enslaved   them,   and   may  be 

holding  many  of  them  in  subjection  ? 

True,  he  replied  ;  and  I  will  add  that  the  best  and  most 
perfectly  unjust  state  will  be  most  likely  to  do  so. 

I  know,  I  said,  that  such  was  your  position  ;  but  what  I 
would  further  consider  is,  whether  this  power  which  is 
possessed  by  the  superior  state  can  exist  or  be  exercised 
without  justice  or  only  with  justice. 

If  you  are  right  in  your  view,  and  justice  is  wisdom,  then  At  this 
only  with  justice  ;   but  if  I  am  right,  then  without  justice.  tenT^of 

I  am  delighted,  Thrasymachus,  to  see  you  not  only  Thrasyma- 
nodding  assent  and  dissent,  but  making  answers  which  are  toTmbroveS 
quite  excellent.  Cp.  5.  450 

That  is  out  of  civility  to  you,  he  replied.  A>  6'  498  C' 

You  are  very  kind,  I  said  ;  and  would  you  have  the  good- 
ness also  to  inform  me,  whether  you  think  that  a  state,  or  an 
army,  or  a  band  of  robbers  and  thieves,  or  any  other  gang  of 
evil-doers  could  act  at  all  if  they  injured  one  another  ? 

No  indeed,  he  said,  they  could  not. 

But  if  they  abstained  from  injuring  one  another,  then  they 
might  act  together  better  ? 


And  this  is  because  injustice  creates  divisions  and  hatreds 
and  fighting,  and  justice  imparts  harmony  and  friendship  ;  is 
not  that  true,  Thrasymachus  ? 

I  agree,  he  said,  because  I  do  not  wish  to  quarrel  with  you.   Perfect  in- 

How  good  of  you,  I  said  ;  but  I  should  like  to  know  also  Aether  in 
whether   injustice,  having  this   tendency  to   arouse   hatred,   state  or  in- 
wherever  existing,   among  slaves   or  among   freemen,  will  J^J^! 
not  make  them  hate  one  another  and  set  them  at  variance  tiveto 
and  render  them  incapable  of  common  action  ? 


And  even  if  injustice  be  found  in  two  only,  will  they  not 
quarrel  and  fight,  and  become  enemies  to  one  another  and  to 
the  just? 

They  will. 

And  suppose  injustice  abiding  in  a  single  person,  would 
your  wisdom  say  that  she  loses  or  that  she  retains  her 
natural  power  ? 

The  suicidal  character  of  injustice. 




Let  us  assume  that  she  retains  her  power. 

Yet  is  not  the  power  which  injustice  exercises  of  such  a 
nature  that  wherever  she.  takes  up  her  abode,  whether  in  a 
city,  in  an  army,  in  a  family,  or  in  any  other  body,  that  body 
is,  to  begin  with,  rendered  incapable  of  united  action  by  352 
reason  of  sedition  and  distraction ;  and  does  it  not  become 
its  own  enemy  and  at  variance  with  all  that  opposes  it,  and 
with  the  just  ?  Is  not  this  the  case  ? 

Yes,  certainly. 

And  is  not  injustice  equally  fatal  when  existing  in  a  single 
person ;  in  the  first  place  rendering  him  incapable  of  action 
because  he  is  not  at  unity  with  himself,  and  in  the  second 
place  making  him  an  enemy  to  himself  and  the  just  ?  Is  not 
that  true,  Thrasymachus  ? 


And  O  my  friend,  I  said,  surely  the  gods  are  just  ? 

Granted  that  they  are. 

But  if  so,  the  unjust  will  be  the  enemy  of  the  gods,  and  the 
just  will  be  their  friend  ? 

Feast  away  in  triumph, 'and  take  your  fill  of  the  argu- 
ment; I  will  not  oppose  you,  lest  I  should  displease  the 

Well  then,  proceed  with  your  answers,  and  let  me  have  the 
remainder  of  my  repast.  For  we  have  already  shown  that 
the  just  are  clearly  wiser  and  better  and  abler  than  the 
unjust,  and  that  the  unjust  are  incapable  of  common  action ; 
nay  more,  that  to  speak  as  we  did  of  men  who  are  evil 
acting  at  any  time  vigorously  together,  is  not  strictly  true, 
for  if  they  had  been  perfectly  evil,  they  would  have  laid 
hands  upon  one  another;  but  it  is  evident  that  there  must 
have  been  some  remnant  of  justice  in  them,  which  enabled 
them  to  combine ;  if  there  had  not  been  they  would  have 
injured  one  another  as  well  as  their  victims ;  they  were  but 
half-villains  in  their  enterprises;  for  had  they  been  whole 
villains,  and  utterly  unjust,  they  would  have  been  utterly 
incapable  of  action.  That,  as  I  believe,  is  the  truth  of  the 
matter,  and  not  what  you  said  at  first.  But  whether  the  just 
have  a  better  and  happier  life  than  the  unjust  is  a  further 
question  which  we  also  proposed  to  consider.  I  think  that 
they  have,  and  for  the  reasons  which  I  have  given ;  but  still 

The  nature  of  ends  and  excellences.  33 

I  should  like  to  examine  further,  for  no  light  matter  is  at 
stake,  nothing  less  than  the  rule  of  human  life. 

Proceed.  SOCRATES, 

I  will  proceed  by  asking  a  question  :  Would  you  not  say 
that  a  horse  has  some  end  ?  iiiustra- 

1  Should.  ends  and 

And  the  end  or  use  of  a  horse  or  of  anything  would  be 
that  which  could  not  be  accomplished,  or  not  so  well  accom-  tory  to  the 
plished,  by  any  other  thing  ?  enquiry 

T    J  J  J      1  •  ,  int°  the 

I  do  not  understand,  he  said.  end  and 

Let  me  explain  :  Can  you  see,  except  with  the  eye  ?  excellence 

Certainly  not.  s°^he 

Or  hear,  except  with  the  ear  ? 


These  then  may  be  truly  said  to  be  the  ends  of  these  organs? 

They  may. 

353      But  you  can  cut  off  a  vine-branch  with  a  dagger  or  with  a 
chisel,  and  in  many  other  ways  ? 

Of  course. 

And  yet  not  so  well  as  with  a  pruning-hook  made  for  the 
purpose  ? 


May  we  not  say  that  this  is  the  end  of  a  pruning-hook  ? 

We  may. 

Then  now  I  think  you  will  have  no  difficulty  in  under- 
standing my  meaning  when  I  asked  the  question  whether  the 
end  of  anything  would  be  that  which  could  not  be  accom- 
plished, or  not  so  well  accomplished,  by  any  other  thing  ? 

I  understand  your  meaning,  he  said,  and  assent. 

And  that  to  which  an  end  is  appointed  has  also  an  excel-  All  things 
lence?     Need  I  ask  again  whether  the  eye  has  an  end  ?  which  have 

J  ends  have 

It  has.  also  virtues 

And  has  not  the  eye  an  excellence  ?  and  exce1' 

v  lences  by 

*  es«  which  they 

And  the  ear  has  an  end  and  an  excellence  also  ?  fulfil  those 

T,  ends. 


And  the  same  is  true  of  all  other  things  ;   they  have  each 
of  them  an  end  and  a  special  excellence  ? 
That  is  so. 

Well,    and    can    the    eyes    fulfil    their   end    if  they   ate 



Everything  has  a  special  end  and  eoccellence. 




And  the 
soul  has  a 
virtue  and 
an  end — 
the  virtue 
justice,  the 
end  happi- 

justice  and 
are  neces- 
sarily con- 

wanting  in  their  own  proper  excellence  and  have  a  defect 
instead  ? 

How  can  they,  he  said,  if  they  are  blind  and  cannot  see? 

You  mean  to  say,  if  they  have  lost  their  proper  excellence, 
which  is  sight ;  but  I  have  not  arrived  at  that  point  yet.  I 
would  rather  ask  the  question  more  generally,  and  only  en- 
quire whether  the  things  which  fulfil  their  ends  fulfil  them  by 
their  own  proper  excellence,  and  fail  of  fulfilling  them  by 
their  own  defect  ? 

Certainly,  he  replied. 

I  might  say  the  same  of  the  ears  ;  when  deprived  of  their 
own  proper  excellence  they  cannot  fulfil  their  end  ? 


And  the  same  observation  will  apply  to  all  other  things  ? 

I  agree. 

Well ;  and  has  not  the  soul  an  end  which  nothing  else  can 
fulfil?  for  example,  to  superintend  and  command  and  deli- 
berate and  the  like.  Are  not  these  functions  proper  to  the 
soul,  and  can  they  rightly  be  assigned  to  any  other  ? 

To  no  other. 

And  is  not  life  to  be  reckoned  among  the  ends  of  the  soul  ? 

Assuredly,  he  said. 

And  has  not  the  soul  an  excellence  also  ? 


And  can  she  or  can  she  not  fulfil  her  own  ends  when 
deprived  of  that  excellence  ? 

She  cannot. 

Then  an  evil  soul  must  necessarily  be  an  evil  ruler  and 
superintendent,  and  the  good  soul  a  good  ruler  ? 

Yes,  necessarily. 

And  we  have  admitted  that  justice  is  the  excellence  of  the 
soul,  and  injustice  the  defect  of  the  soul  ? 

That  has  been  admitted. 

Then  the  just  soul  and  the  just  man  will  live  well,  and  the 
unjust  man  will  live  ill  ? 

That  is  what  your  argument  proves. 

And  he  who  lives  well  is  blessed  and  happy,  and  he  who  354 
lives  ill  the  reverse  of  happy  ? 


Then  the  just  is  happy,  and  the  unjust  miserable  ? 

Socrates  knows  nothing  after  all.  35 

So  be  it.  Republic 

But  happiness  and  not  misery  is  profitable. 

Of  COUrse.  ^CRATES, 


Then,  my  blessed  Thrasymachus,  injustice  can  never  be    CHUS. 
more  profitable  than  justice. 

Let  this,  Socrates,  he  said,  be  your  entertainment  at  the 

For  which  I  am  indebted  to  you,  I  said,  now  that  you  have 
grown  gentle  towards  me  and  have  left  off  scolding.     Never-  Socrates  is 
theless,  I  have  not  been  well  entertained  :   but  that  was  my  ^pkased 

;  J    with  him- 

own  fault  and  not  yours.     As  an  epicure  snatches  a  taste  of  self  and 
every  dish  which  is  successively  brought  to  table,   he  not  with  the 
having  allowed  himself  time  to  enjoy  the  one  before,  so  argun 
have  I  gone  from  one  subject  to  another  without  having 
discovered  what  I  sought  at  first,  the  nature  of  justice.    I  left 
that  enquiry  and  turned  away  to  consider  whether  justice  is 
virtue  and  wisdom  or  evil  and  folly;   and  when  there  arose  a 
further  question  about  the  comparative  advantages  of  justice 
and  injustice,  I  could  not  refrain  from  passing  on  to  that. 
And  the  result  of  the  whole  discussion  has  been  that  I  know 
nothing  at  all.     For  I  know  not  what  justice  is,  and  there- 
fore I  am  not  likely  to  know  whether  it  is  or  is  not  a  virtue, 
nor  can  I  say  whether  the  just  man  is  happy  or  unhappy. 

D  2 




The  three- 
fold divi- 
sion of 

WITH  these  words  I  was  thinking  that  I  had  made  an  end  steph. 
of  the  discussion ;   but  the  end,  in  truth,  proved  to  be  only    357 
a  beginning.     For  Glaucon,  who  is  always  the  most  pug- 
nacious of  men,  was  dissatisfied   at  Thrasymachus'  retire- 
ment ;  he  wanted  to  have  the  battle  out.     So  he  said  to  me  : 
Socrates,  do  you  wish  really  to  persuade  us,  or  only  to  seem 
to  have  persuaded  us,  that  to  be  just  is  always  better  than  to 
be  unjust  ? 

I  should  wish  really  to  persuade  you,  I  replied,  if  I  could. 

Then  you  certainly  have  not  succeeded.  Let  me  ask  you 
now  : — How  would  you  arrange  goods — are  there  not  some 
which  we  welcome  for  their  own  sakes,  and  independently  of 
their  consequences,  as,  for  example,  harmless  pleasures  and 
enjoyments,  which  delight  us  at  the  time,  although  nothing 
follows  from  them  ? 

I  agree  in  thinking  that  there  is  such  a  class,  I  replied. 

Is  there  not  also  a  second  class  of  goods,  such  as  know- 
ledge, sight,  health,  which  are  desirable  not  only  in  them- 
selves, but  also  for  their  results  ? 

Certainly,  I  said. 

And  would  you  not  recognize  a  third  class,  such  as  gym- 
nastic, and  the  care  of  the  sick,  and  the  physician's  art ;  also 
the  various  ways  of  money-making — these  do  us  good  but  we 
regard  them  as  disagreeable ;  and  no  one  would  choose  them 
for  their  own  sakes,  but  only  for  the  sake  of  some  reward  or 
result  which  flows  from  them  ? 

There  is,  I  said,  this  third  class  also.    But  why  do  you  ask  ? 

Because  I  want  to  know  in  which  of  the  three  classes  you 
would  place  justice  ? 

In  the  highest  class,  I  replied, — among  those  goods  which  358 

The  old  question  resumed.  37 

he  who  would  be  happy  desires  both  for  their  own  sake  and  Republic 
for  the  sake  of  their  results. 

Then  the  many  are  of  another  mind  ;  they  think  that  jus- 
tice  is  to  be  reckoned  in  the  troublesome  class,  among  goods 
which  are  to  be  pursued  for  the  sake  of  rewards  and  of  repu- 
tation, but  in  themselves  are  disagreeable  and  rather  to  be 

I  know,  I  said,  that  this  is  their  manner  of  thinking,  and 
that  this  was  the  thesis  which  Thrasymachus  was  maintaining 
just  now,  when  he  censured  justice  and  praised  injustice. 
But  I  am  too  stupid  to  be  convinced  by  him. 

I  wish,  he  said,  that  you  would  hear  me  as  well  as  him,  Three 
and  then  I  shall  see  whether  you  and  I  agree.     For  Thra-  *£££_ 
symachus  seems  to  me,  like  a  snake,  to  have  been  charmed  ment  :— 
by  your  voice  sooner  than  he  ought  to  have  been  ;   but  to  my  J-  Th^  .na~ 
mind  the  nature  of  justice  and  injustice  have  not  yet  been  tice: 
made  clear.    Setting  aside  their  rewards  and  results,  I  want  2-  Justie.e 

i  necessity 

to  know  what  they  are  in  themselves,  and  how  they  inwardly  but  not  a 

work  in  the  soul.     If  you  please,  then,  I  will  revive  the  argu- 

ment  of  Thrasymachus.     And  first  I  will  speak  of  the  nature  sonabie- 

and  origin  of  justice  according  to  the  common  view  of  them,  ness  of  this 

Secondly,  I  will  show  that  all  men  who  practise  justice  do  so 

against  their  will,  of  necessity,  but  not  as  a  good.      And 

thirdly,  I  will  argue  that  there  is  reason  in  this  view,  for  the 

life  of  the  unjust  is  after  all  better  far  than  the  life  of  the  just 

—  if  what  they  say  is  true,  Socrates,  since  I  myself  am  not  of 

their  opinion.     But  still  I  acknowledge  that  I  am  perplexed 

when  I  hear  the  voices  of  Thrasymachus  and  myriads  of  others 

dinning  in  my  ears;   and,  on  the  other  hand,  I  have  never 

yet  heard  the  superiority  of  justice  to  injustice  maintained  by 

any  one  in  a  satisfactory  way.     I  want  to  hear  justice  praised 

in  respect  of  itself  ;   then  I  shall  be  satisfied,  and  you  are  the 

person  from  whom  I  think  that  I  am  most  likely  to  hear  this  ; 

and  therefore  I  will  praise  the  unjust  life  to  the  utmost  of  my 

power,  and  my  manner  of  speaking  will  indicate  the  manner 

in  which   I   desire  to  hear   you  too  praising  justice  and 

censuring  injustice.     Will  you  say  whether  you  approve  of 

my  proposal  ? 

Indeed  I  do  ;   nor  can  I  imagine  any  theme  about  which  a 
man  of  sense  would  oftener  wish  to  converse. 



Justice  a 
mise be- 
tween do- 
ing and 

The  story 
of  Gyges. 

The  ring  of  Gyges. 

I  am  delighted,  he  replied,  to  hear  you  say  so,  and  shall 
begin  by  speaking,  as  I  proposed,  of  the  nature  and  origin  of 

They  say  that  to  do  injustice  is,  by  nature,  good  ;  to  suffer 
injustice,  evil;  but  that  the  evil  is  greater  than  the  good. 
And  so  when  men  have  both  done  and  suffered  injustice  and 
have  had  experience  of  both,  not  being  able  to  avoid  the  one  359 
and  obtain  the  other,  they  think  that  they  had  better  agree 
among  themselves  to  have  neither ;  hence  there  arise  laws 
and  mutual  covenants  ;  and  that  which  is  ordained  by  law  is 
termed  by  them  lawful  and  just.  This  they  affirm  to  be  the 
origin  and  nature  of  justice ; — it  is  a  mean  or  compromise, 
between  the  best  of  all,  which  is  to  do  injustice  and  not  be 
punished,  and  the  worst  of  all,  which  is  to  suffer  injustice 
without  the  power  of  retaliation ;  and  justice,  being  at  a 
middle  point  between  the  two,  is  tolerated  not  as  a  good,  but 
as  the  lesser  evil,  and  honoured  by  reason  of  the  inability  of 
men  to  do  injustice.  For  no  man  who  is  worthy  to  be  called 
a  man  would  ever  submit  to  such  an  agreement  if  he  were 
able  to  resist;  he  would  be  mad  if  he  did.  Such  is  the 
received  account,  Socrates,  of  the  nature  and  origin  of 

Now  that  those  who  practise  justice  do  so  involuntarily 
and  because  they  have  not  the  power  to  be  unjust  will  best 
appear  if  we  imagine  something  of  this  kind  :  having  given 
both  to  the  just  and  the  unjust  power  to  do  what  they  will, 
let  us  watch  and  see  whither  desire  will  lead  them  ;  then  we 
shall  discover  in  the  very  act  the  just  and  unjust  man  to  be 
proceeding  along  the  same  road,  following  their  interest, 
which  all  natures  deem  to  be  their  good,  and  are  only  di- 
verted into  the  path  of  justice  by  the  force  of  law.  The 
liberty  which  we  are  supposing  may  be  most  completely 
given  to  them  in  the  form  of  such  a  power  as  is  said  to  have 
been  possessed  by  Gyges,  the  ancestor  of  Croesus  the  Ly- 
dian  \  According  to  the  tradition,  Gyges  was  a  shepherd  in 
the  service  of  the  king  of  Lydia ;  there  was  a  great  storm, 
and  an  earthquake  made  an  opening  in  the  earth  at  the  place 
where  he  was  feeding  his  flock.  Amazed  at  the  sight,  he 

1  Reading  Tvyrj  r<p  Kpoiffov  rov  AvSov  tepoy&vy. 

Who  would  be  just  if  he  could  not  be  found  out  f  39 

descended  into  the  opening,  where,  among  other  marvels,  he  Republic 
beheld  a  hollow  brazen  horse,  having  doors,  at  which  he 
stooping  and  looking  in  saw  a  dead  body  of  stature,  as  GLAUCON- 
appeared  to  him,  more  than  human,  and  having  nothing  on 
but  a  gold  ring ;  this  he  took  from  the  finger  of  the  dead  and 
reascended.  Now  the  shepherds  met  together,  according  to 
custom,  that  they  might  send  their  monthly  report  about  the 
flocks  to  the  king ;  into  their  assembly  he  came  having  the 
ring  on  his  finger,  and  as  he  was  sitting  among  them  he 
chanced  to  turn  the  collet  of  the  ring  inside  his  hand,  when 
instantly  he  became  invisible  to  the  rest  of  the  company  and 
they  began  to  speak  of  him  as  if  he  were  no  longer  present. 
360  He  was  astonished  at  this,  and  again  touching  the  ring  he 
turned  the  collet  outwards  and  reappeared  ;  he  made  several 
trials  of  the  ring,  and  always  with  the  same  result — when  he 
turned  the  collet  inwards  he  became  invisible,  when  out- 
wards he  reappeared.  Whereupon  he  contrived  to  be  chosen 
one  of  the  messengers  who  were  sent  to  the  court ;  where  as 
soon  as  he  arrived  he  seduced  the  queen,  and  with  her  help 
conspired  against  the  king  and  slew  him,  and  took  the  king- 
dom. Suppose  now  that  there  were  two  such  magic  rings,  The  appii- 
and  the  just  put  on  one  of  them  and  the  unjust  the  other  ;  no  ^ ™Q°f 
man  can  be  imagined  to  be  of  such  an  iron  nature  that  he  of  Gyges. 
would  stand  fast  in  justice.  No  man  would  keep  his  hands 
off  what  was  not  his  own  when  he  could  safely  take  what  he 
liked  out  of  the  market,  or  go  into  houses  and  lie  with  any 
one  at  his  pleasure,  or  kill  or  release  from  prison  whom  he 
would,  and  in  all  respects  be  like  a  God  among  men.  Then 
the  actions  of  the  just  would  be  as  the  actions  of  the  unjust ; 
they  would  both  come  at  last  to  the  same  point.  And  this 
we  may  truly  affirm  to  be  a  great  proof  that  a  man  is  just, 
not  willingly  or  because  he  thinks  that  justice  is  any  good  to 
him  individually,  but  of  necessity,  for  wherever  any  one 
thinks  that  he  can  safely  be  unjust,  there  he  is  unjust.  For 
all  men  believe  in  their  hearts  that  injustice  is  far  more 
profitable  to  the  individual  than  justice,  and  he  who  argues 
as  I  have  been  supposing,  will  say  that  they  are  right.  If 
you  could  imagine  any  one  obtaining  this  power  of  becoming 
invisible,  and  never  doing  any  wrong  or  touching  what  was 
another's,  he  would  be  thought  by  the  lookers-on  to  be  a 

The  just  and  unjust  stripped  of  appearances. 



The  unjust 
to  be 
with  power 
and  repu- 

The  just 
to  be  un- 
clothed of 
all  but  his 

most  wretched  idiot,  although  they  would  praise  him  to  one 
another's  faces,  and  keep  up  appearances  with  one  another 
from  a  fear  that  they  too  might  suffer  injustice.  Enough  of 

Now,  if  we  are  to  form  a  real  judgment  of  the  life  of  the 
just  and  unjust,  we  must  isolate  them ;  there  is  no  other 
way ;  and  how  is  the  isolation  to  be  effected  ?  I  answer  : 
Let  the  unjust  man  be  entirely  unjust,  and  the  just  man 
entirely  just ;  nothing  is  to  be  taken  away  from  either  of 
them,  and  both  are  to  be  perfectly  furnished  for  the  work  of 
their  respective  lives.  First,  let  the  unjust  be  like  other 
distinguished  masters  of  craft ;  like  the  skilful  pilot  or 
physician,  who  knows  intuitively  his  own  powers  and  keeps  361 
within  their  limits,  and  who,  if  he  fails  at  any  point,  is  able 
to  recover  himself.  So  let  the  unjust  make  his  unjust  at- 
tempts in  the  right  way,  and  lie  hidden  if  he  means  to  be 
great  in  his  injustice  :  (he  who  is  found  out  is  nobody :)  for 
the  highest  reach  of  injustice  is,  to  be  deemed  just  when  you 
are  not.  Therefore  I  say  that  in  the  perfectly  unjust  man 
we  must  assume  the  most  perfect  injustice  ;  there  is  to  be  no 
deduction,  but  we  must  allow  him,  while  doing  the  most 
unjust  acts,  to  have  acquired  the  greatest  reputation  for 
justice.  If  he  have  taken  a  false  step  he  must  be  able  to 
recover  himself;  he  must  be  one  who  can  speak  with  effect,  if 
any  of  his  deeds  come  to  light,  and  who  can  force  his  way 
where  force  is  required  by  his  courage  and  strength,  and  com- 
mand of  money  and  friends.  And  at  his  side  let  us  place  the 
just  man  in  his  nobleness  and  simplicity,  wishing,  as  Aeschy- 
lus says,  to  be  and  not  to  seem  good.  There  must  be  no 
seeming,  for  if  he  seem  to  be  just  he  will  be  honoured  and 
rewarded,  and  then  we  shall  not  know  whether  he  is  just  for 
the  sake  of  justice  or  for  the  sake  of  honours  and  rewards ; 
therefore,  let  him  be  clothed  in  justice  only,  and  have  no 
other  covering ;  and  he  must  be  imagined  in  a  state  of  life 
the  opposite  of  the  former.  Let  him  be  the  best  of  men,  and 
let  him  be  thought  the  worst ;  then  he  will  have  been  put  to 
the  proof;  and  we  shall  see  whether  he  will  be  affected  by 
the  fear  of  infamy  and  its  consequences.  And  let  him  con- 
tinue thus  to  the  hour  of  death  ;  being  just  and  seeming  to 
IDC  Unjust.  When  both  have  reached  the  uttermost  extreme, 

The  just  in  torments,  the  wicked  in  prosperity.  41 

the  one  of  justice  and  the  other  of  injustice,  let  judgment  be  Republi 
given  which  of  them  is  the  happier  of  the  two. 


Heavens  !  my  dear  Glaucon,  I  said,  how  energetically  you 
polish  them  up  for  the  decision,  first  one  and  then  the  other, 
as  if  they  were  two  statues. 

I  do  my  best,  he  said.     And  now  that  we  know  what  they 
are  like  there  is  no  difficulty  in  tracing  out  the  sort  of  life 
which  awaits  either  of  them.    This  I  will  proceed  to  describe  ; 
but  as  you  may  think  the  description  a  little  too  coarse,  I  ask 
you  to  suppose,  Socrates,  that  the  words  which  follow  are 
not  mine.  —  Let  me  put  them  into  the  mouths  of  the  eulogists 
of  injustice  :   They  will  tell  you  that  the  just  man  who  is 
thought  unjust  will  be  scourged,  racked,  bound  —  will  have 
his  eyes  burnt  out  ;   and,  at  last,  after  suffering  every  kind  of 
evil,  he  will  be  impaled  :    Then  he  will  understand  that  he  The  just 
362  ought  to   seem   only,   and   not   to   be,  just  ;    the  words  of  J^^^1 
Aeschylus  maybe  more  truly  spoken  of  the  unjust  than  of  eachexpe- 
the  just.     For  the  unjust  is  pursuing  a  reality  ;   he  does  not  ^^  *at 
live  with  a  view  to  appearances  —  he  wants  to  be  really  unjust  to  seem 
and  not  to  seem  only  :—  £*£*  to 

1  His  mind  has  a  soil  deep  and  fertile, 
Out  of  which  spring  his  prudent  counsels  V 

In  the  first  place,  he  is  thought  just,  and  therefore  bears  rule 
in  the  city;  he  can  marry  whom  he  will,  and  give  in  marriage 
to  whom  he  will  ;   also  he  can  trade  and  deal  where  he  likes,   The  unjust 
and  always  to  his  own  advantage,  because  he  has  no  mis-  1^°*^.,. 
givings  about  injustice  ;   and  at  every  contest,  whether  in  will  attain 
public  or  private,  he  gets  the  better  of  his  antagonists,  and  ^^rt 
gains  at  their  expense,  and  is  rich,  and  out  of  his  gains  he  perity. 
can  benefit  his  friends,  and  harm  his  enemies  ;   moreover,  he 
can  offer  sacrifices,  and  dedicate  gifts  to  the  gods  abundantly 
and   magnificently,   and  can  honour  the  gods  or  any  man 
whom  he  wants  to  honour  in  a  far  better  style  than  the  just, 
and  therefore  he  is  likely  to  be  dearer  than  they  are  to  the 
gods.     And  thus,  Socrates,  gods  and  men  are  said  to  unite 
in  making  the  life  of  the  unjust  better  than  the  life  of  the  just. 
I  was  going  to  say  something  in  answer  to  Glaucon,  when 

1  Seven  against  Thebes,  574. 

' The  temporal  dispensation' 



tus  takes 
up  the 
Justice  is 
praised  and 
blamed,  but 
only  out  of 
regard  to 
their  con- 

The  re- 
wards and 

Adeimantus,  his  brother,  interposed  :  Socrates,  he  said,  you 
do  not  suppose  that  there  is  nothing  more  to  be  urged  ? 

Why,  what  else  is  there  ?   I  answered. 

The  strongest  point  of  all  has  not  been  even  mentioned,  he 

Well,  then,  according  to  the  proverb,  '  Let  brother  help 
brother ' — if  he  fails  in  any  part  do  you  assist  him  ;  although 
I  must  confess  that  Glaucon  has  already  said  quite  enough 
to  lay  me  in  the  dust,  and  take  from  me  the  power  of  helping 

Nonsense,  he  replied.  But  let  me  add  something  more : 
There  is  another  side  to  Glaucon's  argument  about  the  praise 
and  censure  of  justice  and  injustice,  which  is  equally  required 
in  order  to  bring  out  what  I  believe  to  be  his  meaning. 
Parents  and  tutors  are  always  telling  their  sons  and  their 
wards  that  they  are  to  be  just ;  but  why  ?  not  for  the  sake  of  363 
justice,  but  for  the  sake  of  character  and  reputation  ;  in  the 
hope  of  obtaining  for  him  who  is  reputed  just  some  of  those 
offices,  marriages,  and  the  like  which  Glaucon  has  enumerated 
among  the  advantages  accruing  to  the  unjust  from  the  repu- 
tation of  justice.  More,  however,,  is  made  of  appearances  by 
this  class  of  persons  than  by  the  others  ;  for  they  throw  in 
the  good  opinion  of  the  gods,  and  will  tell  you  of  a  shower 
of  benefits  which  the  heavens,  as  they  say,  rain  upon  the 
pious ;  and  this  accords  with  the  testimony  of  the  noble 
Hesiod  and  Homer,  the  first  of  whom  says,  that  the  gods 
make  the  oaks  of  the  just — 

*  To  bear  acorns  at  their  summit,  and  bees  in  the  middle ; 
And  the  sheep  are  bowed  down  with  the  weight  of  their  fleeces1,' 

and  many  other  blessings  of  a  like  kind  are  provided  for 
them.  And  Homer  has  a  very  similar  strain;  for  he  speaks 
of  one  whose  fame  is — 

*  As  the  fame  of  some  blameless  king  who,  like  a  god, 
Maintains  justice ;  to  whom  the  black  earth  brings  forth 
Wheat  and  barley,  whose  trees  are  bowed  with  fruit, 
And  his  sheep  never  fail  to  bear,  and  the  sea  gives  him  fish  V 

Still  grander  are  the  gifts  of  heaven  which  Musaeus  and  his 
son 3  vouchsafe  to  the  just ;  they  take  them  down  into  the , 

Hesiod,  Works  and  Days,  230.         2  Homer,  Od.  xix.  109. 


Immoral  and  impious  opinions  and  beliefs.  43 

world  below,  where  they  have  the  saints  lying  on  couches  Republic 

at  a  feast,  everlastingly  drunk,  crowned  with  garlands  ;  their 

idea  seems  to  be  that  an  immortality  of  drunkenness  is  the  ADEIMANTUS- 

highest  meed  of  virtue.  Some  extend  their  rewards  yet 
further  ;  the  posterity,  as  they  say,  of  the  faithful  and  just  another 
shall  survive  to  the  third  and  fourth  generation.  This  is  the  hfe< 
style  in  which  they  praise  justice.  But  about  the  wicked 
there  is  another  strain;  they  bury  them  in  a  slough  in 
Hades,  and  make  them  carry  water  in  a  sieve  ;  also  while 
they  are  yet  living  they  bring  them  to  infamy,  and  inflict 
upon  them  the  punishments  which  Glaucon  described  as  the 
portion  of  the  just  who  are  reputed  to  be  unjust  ;  nothing 
else  does  their  invention  supply.  Such  is  their  manner  of 
praising  the  one  and  censuring  the  other. 

Once  more,  Socrates,  I  will  ask  you  to  consider  another  way  Men  are 
of  speaking  about  justice  and  injustice,  which  is  not  confined  ale^^s  re~ 
364  to  the  poets,  but  is  found  in  prose  writers.  The  universal  that  virtue 
voice  of  mankind  is  always  declaring  that  justice  and  virtue  jfjj9^1 
are  honourable,  but  grievous  and  toilsome  ;  and  that  the  pleasant. 
pleasures  of  vice  and  injustice  are  easy  of  attainment,  and  are 
only  censured  by  law  and  opinion.  They  say  also  that  honesty 
is  for  the  most  part  less  profitable  than  dishonesty  ;  and  they 
are  quite  ready  to  call  wicked  men  happy,  and  to  honour 
them  both  in  public  and  private  when  they  are  rich  or  in  any 
other  way  influential,  while  they  despise  and  overlook  those 
who  may  be  weak  and  poor,  even  though  acknowledging 
them  to  be  better  than  the  others.  But  most  extraordinary 
of  all  is  their  mode  of  speaking  about  virtue  and  the  gods  : 
they  say  that  the  gods  apportion  calamity  and  misery  to 
many  good  men,  and  good  and  happiness  to  the  wicked. 
And  mendicant  prophets  go  to  rich  men's  doors  and  per- 
suade them  that  they  have  a  power  committed  to  them 
by  the  gods  of  making  an  atonement  for  a  man's  own 
or  his  ancestor's  sins  by  sacrifices  or  charms,  with  re- 
joicings and  feasts;  and  they  promise  to  harm  an  enemy, 
whether  just  or  unjust,  at  a  small  cost;  with  magic  arts 
and  incantations  binding  heaven,  as  they  say,  to  execute 
their  will.  And  the  poets  are  the  authorities  to  whom  they 
appeal,  now  smoothing  the  path  of  vice  with  the  words  of 
Hesiod  :  — 


The  effect  on  the  mind  of  youth. 


'  Vice  may  be  had  in  abundance  without  trouble  ;  the  way  is 
smooth  and  her  dwelling-place  is  near.     But  before  virtue  the 

ADEIMANTUS.    gods  have  Set  toil  V 

They  are 
taught  that 
sins  may 
be  easily 

The  effects 
of  all  this 
upon  the 

and  a  tedious  and  uphill  road :  then  citing  Homer  as  a 
witness  that  the  gods  may  be  influenced  by  men ;  for  he 
also  says : — 

*  The  gods,  too,  may  be  turned  from  their  purpose ;  and  men 
pray  to  them  and  avert  their  wrath  by  sacrifices  and  soothing 
entreaties,  and  by  libations  and  the  odour  of  fat,  when  they  have 
sinned  and  transgressed  V 

And  they  produce  a  host  of  books  written  by  Musaeus  and 
Orpheus,  who  were  children  of  the  Moon  and  the  Muses — 
that  is  what  they  say — according  to  which  they  perform  their 
ritual,  and  persuade  not  only  individuals,  but  whole  cities, 
that  expiations  and  atonements  for  sin  may  be  made  by 
sacrifices  and  amusements  which  fill  a  vacant  hour,  and  are 
equally  at  the  service  of  the  living  and  the  dead ;  the  latter 
sort  they  call  mysteries,  and  they  redeem  us  from  the  pains  365 
of  hell,  but  if  we  neglect  them  no  one  knows  what  awaits  us. 
He  proceeded  :  And  now  when  the  young  hear  all  this  said 
about  virtue  and  vice,  and  the  way  in  which  gods  and  men 
regard  them,  how  are  their  minds  likely  to  be  affected,  my 
dear  Socrates, — those  of  them,  I  mean,  who  are  quickwitted, 
and,  like  bees  on  the  wing,  light  on  every  flower,  and  from 
all  that  they  hear  are  prone  to  draw  conclusions  as  to  what 
manner  of  persons  they  should  be  and  in  what  way  they 
should  walk  if  they  would  make  the  best  of  life  ?  Probably 
the  youth  will  say  to  himself  in  the  words  of  Pindar — 

'  Can  I  by  justice  or  by  crooked  ways  of  deceit  ascend  a  loftier 
tower  which  may  be  a  fortress  to  me  all  my  days  ? ' 

For  what  men  say  is  that,  if  I  am  really  just  and  am  not  also 
thought  just,  profit  there  is  none,  but  the  pain  and  loss  on 
the  other  hand  are  unmistakeable.  But  if,  though  unjust, 
I  acquire  the  reputation  of  justice,  a  heavenly  life  is  promised 
to  me.  Since  then,  as  philosophers  prove,  appearance  tyran- 
nizes over  truth  and  is  lord  of  happiness,  to  appearance  I 
must  devote  myself.  I  will  describe  around  me  a  picture 
and  shadow  of  virtue  to  be  the  vestibule  and  exterior  of  my 

Hesiod,  Works  and  Days,  287. 

2  Homer,  Iliad,  ix.  493. 

' Let  us  make  the  best  of  both  worlds'  45 

house;    behind   I  will   trail   the   subtle   and   crafty  fox,    as  Republic 
Archilochus,  greatest   of  sages,    recommends.      But  I  hear      7/' 
some  one  exclaiming  that  the  concealment  of  wickedness  is  ADEIMANTUS- 
often  difficult;    to  which  I  answer,  Nothing  great  is  easy. 
Nevertheless,  the  argument   indicates   this,  if  we  would  be 
happy,  to  be  the  path  along  which  we  should  proceed.    With 
a  view  to  concealment  we  will  establish  secret  brotherhoods 
and  political  clubs.    And  there  are  professors  of  rhetoric  who 
teach  the  art  of  persuading  courts  and  assemblies ;  and  so, 
partly  by  persuasion  and  partly  by  force,  I  shall  make  un- 
lawful gains   and   not   be   punished.      Still  I  hear  a  voice 
saying  that  the  gods  cannot  be  deceived,  neither  can  they 
be  compelled.     But  what  if  there  are  no  gods  ?  or,  suppose 
them  to  have  no  care  of  human  things — why  in  either  case 
should  we   mind   about   concealment?    And   even   if  there  Theexist- 
are  gods,  and  they  do  care  about  us,  yet  we  know  of  them  ^shfonT 
only  from  tradition  and  the  genealogies  of  the  poets ;   and  known  to 
these  are  the  very  persons  who  say  that  they  may  be  in-  ^ethr^J|h 
fluenced  and  turned  by  '  sacrifices   and   soothing  entreaties  who  like-' 
and  by  offerings.'     Let  us  be  consistent  then,  and  believe 
both  or  neither.     If  the  poets  speak  truly,  why  then  we  had  maybe 
366  better  be  unjust,  and  offer  of  the  fruits  of  injustice;  for  if  we  fhna^ea 
are  just,  although  we  may  escape  the  vengeance  of  heaven,   are  very 
we  shall  lose  the  gains  of  injustice;  but,  if  we  are  unjust,  we  Jead? to 
shall  keep  the  gains,  and  by  our  sinning  and  praying,  and 
praying  and  sinning,  the  gods  will  be  propitiated,  and  we 
shall  not  be  punished.     '  But  there  is  a  world  below  in  which 
either  we  or  our  posterity  will  suffer  for  our  unjust  deeds.' 
Yes,  my  friend,  will  be  the  reflection,  but  there  are  mysteries 
and  atoning  deities,  and  these  have  great  power.     That  is 
what  mighty  cities  declare ;    and  the  children  of  the  gods, 
who  were  their  poets  and  prophets,  bear  a  like  testimony. 

On  what  principle,  then,  shall  we  any  longer  choose  justice 
rather  than  the  worst  injustice  ?  when,  if  we  only  unite  the 
latter  with  a  deceitful  regard  to  appearances,  we  shall  fare  to 
our  mind  both  with  gods  and  men,  in  life  and  after  death,  as 
the  most  numerous  and  the  highest  authorities  tell  us.  Know- 
ing all  this,  Socrates,  how  can  a  man  who  has  any  superiority 
of  mind  or  person  or  rank  or  wealth,  be  willing  to  honour 
justice;  or  indeed  to  refrain  from  laughing  when  he  hears 

The  impassioned  peroration  of  Adeimantus. 


All  this, 
even  if  not 
true,  af- 
fords great 
excuse  for 

Men  should 
be  taught 
that  justice 
is  in  itself 
the  greatest 
good  and 
the  greatest 

justice  praised  ?  And  even  if  there  should  be  some  one  who 
is  able  to  disprove  the  truth  of  my  words,  and  who  is  satisfied 
that  justice  is  best,  still  he  is  not  angry  with  the  unjust,  but 
is  very  ready  to  forgive  them,  because  he  also  knows  that  men 
are  not  just  of  their  own  free  will ;  unless,  peradventure,  there 
be  some  one  whom  the  divinity  within  him  may  have  inspired 
with  a  hatred  of  injustice,  or  who  has  attained  knowledge  of 
the  truth — but  no  other  man.  He  only  blames  injustice  who, 
owing  to  cowardice  or  age  or  some  weakness,  has  not  the 
power  of  being  unjust.  And  this  is  proved  by  the  fact  that 
when  he  obtains  the  power,  he  immediately  becomes  unjust  as 
far  as  he  can  be. 

The  cause  of  all  this,  Socrates,  was  indicated  by  us  at  the 
beginning  of  the  argument,  when  my  brother  and  I  told  you 
how  astonished  we  were  to  find  that  of  all  the  professing 
panegyrists  of  justice — beginning  with  the  ancient  heroes  of 
whom  any  memorial  has  been  preserved  to  us,  and  ending 
with  the  men  of  our  own  time — no  one  has  ever  blamed 
injustice  or  praised  justice  except  with  a  view  to  the  glories, 
honours,  and  benefits  which  flow  from  them.  No  one  has 
ever  adequately  described  either  in  verse  or  prose  the  true 
essential  nature  of  either  of  them  abiding  in  the  soul,  and 
invisible  to  any  human  or  divine  eye ;  or  shown  that  of  all 
the  things  of  a  man's  soul  which  he  has  within  him,  justice  is 
the  greatest  good,  and  injustice  the  greatest  evil.  Had  this  367 
been  the  universal  strain,  had  you  sought  to  persuade  us  of 
this  from  our  youth  upwards,  we  should  not  have  been  on 
the  watch  to  keep  one  another  from  doing  wrong,  but  every 
one  would  have  been  his  own  watchman,  because  afraid,  if  he 
did  wrong,  of  harbouring  in  himself  the  greatest  of  evils.  I 
dare  say  that  Thrasymachus  and  others  would  seriously  hold 
the  language  which  I  have  been  merely  repeating,  and  words 
even  stronger  than  these  about  justice  and  injustice,  grossly, 
as  I  conceive,  perverting  their  true  nature.  But  I  speak  in 
this  vehement  manner,  as  I  must  frankly  confess  to  you, 
because  I  want  to  hear  from  you  the  opposite  side ;  and  I 
would  ask  you  to  show  not  only  the  superiority  which  justice 
has  over  injustice,  but  what  effect  they  have  on  the  possessor 
of  them  which  makes  the  one  to  be  a  good  and  the  other  an 
evil  to  him.  And  please,  as  Glaucon  requested  of  you,  to 

The  genius  of  Glaucon  and  Adeimantus.  47 

exclude  reputations ;  for  unless  you  take  away  from  each  of  Republic 
them  his  true  reputation  and  add  on  the  false,  we  shall  say 
that  you  do  not  praise  justice,  but  the  appearance  of  it;  5™™?™*' 
we  shall  think  that  you  are  only  exhorting  us  to  keep  in- 
justice dark,  and  that  you  really  agree  with  Thrasymachus 
in  thinking  that  justice  is  another's  good  and  the  interest  of 
the  stronger,  and  that  injustice  is  a  man's  own  profit  and 
interest,  though  injurious  to  the  weaker.  Now  as  you  have 
admitted  that  justice  is  one  of  that  highest  class  of  goods 
which  are  desired  indeed  for  their  results,  but  in  a  far  greater 
degree  for  their  own  sakes — like  sight  or  hearing  or  know- 
ledge or  health,  or  any  other  real  and  natural  and  not  merely 
conventional  good — I  would  ask  you  in  your  praise  of  justice 
to  regard  one  point  only :  I  mean  the  essential  good  and  evil 
which  justice  and  injustice  work  in  the  possessors  of  them. 
Let  others  praise  justice  and  censure  injustice,  magnifying 
the  rewards  and  honours  of  the  one  and  abusing  the  other ; 
that  is  a  manner  of  arguing  which,  coming  from  them,  I  am 
ready  to  tolerate,  but  from  you  who  have  spent  your  whole  life 
in  the  consideration  of  this  question,  unless  I  hear  the  contrary 
from  your  own  lips,  I  expect  something  better.  And  there- 
fore, I  say,  not  only  prove  to  us  that  justice  is  better  than 
injustice,  but  show  what  they  either  of  them  do  to  the 
possessor  of  them,  which  makes  the  one  to  be  a  good  and 
the  other  an  evil,  whether  seen  or  unseen  by  gods  and  men. 

I  had  always  admired  the  genius  of  Glaucon  and  Adei- 
mantus,  but  on  hearing  these  words  I  was  quite  delighted, 
368  and  said  :  Sons  of  an  illustrious  father,  that  was  not  a  bad 
beginning  of  the  Elegiac  verses  which  the  admirer  of  Glaucon 
made  in  honour  of  you  after  you  had  distinguished  yourselves 
at  the  battle  of  Megara  : — 

*Sons  of  Ariston,'  he  sang,  'divine  offspring  of  an  illustrious  hero.' 

The  epithet  is  very  appropriate,  for  there  is  something  truly  Glaucon 
divine  in  being  able  to  argue  as  you  have  done  for  the  supe-  J^^f61" 
riority  of  injustice,  and  remaining  unconvinced  by  your  own  able  to 
arguments.     And  I  do  believe  that  you  are  not  convinced —  argue  so 
this  I  infer  from  your  general  character,  for  had  I  judged  uncon- 
only  from  your  speeches  I  should  have  mistrusted  you.     But  ™ced  by 

cj  .  .  their  own 

now,  the  greater  my  confidence  in  you,  the  greater  is  my  arguments 

The  individiial  and  the  State. 



The  large 

Justice  to 
be  seen  in 
the  State 
more  easily 
than  in  the 

difficulty  in  knowing  what  to  say.  For  I  am  in  a  strait 
between  two ;  on  the  one  hand  I  feel  that  I  am  unequal 
to  the  task  ;  and  my  inability  is  brought  home  to  me  by  the 
fact  that  you  were  not  satisfied  with  the  answer  which  I  made 
to  Thrasymachus,  proving,  as  I  thought,  the  superiority 
which  justice  has  over  injustice.  And  yet  I  cannot  refuse  to 
help,  while  breath  and  speech  remain  to  me;  I  am  afraid 
that  there  would  be  an  impiety  in  being  present  when  justice 
is  evil  spoken  of  and  not  lifting  up  a  hand  in  her  defence. 
And  therefore  I  had  best  give  such  help  as  I  can. 

Glaucon  and  the  rest  entreated  me  by  all  means  not  to  let 
the  question  drop,  but  to  proceed  in  the  investigation.  They 
wanted  to  arrive  at  the  truth,  first,  about  the  nature  of  justice 
and  injustice,  and  secondly,  about  their  relative  advantages. 
I  told  them,  what  I  really  thought,  that  the  enquiry  would  be 
of  a  serious  nature,  and  would  require  very  good  eyes. 
Seeing  then,  I  said,  that  we  are  no  great  wits,  I  think  that 
we  had  better  adopt  a  method  which  I  may  illustrate  thus  ; 
suppose  that  a  short-sighted  person  had  been  asked  by  some 
one  to  read  small  letters  from  a  distance  ;  and  it  occurred  to 
some  one  else  that  they  might  be  found  in  another  place 
which  was  larger  and  in  which  the  letters  were  larger— if 
they  were  the  same  and  he  could  read  the  larger  letters  first, 
and  then  proceed  to  the  lesser — this  would  have  been  thought 
a  rare  piece  of  good  fortune. 

Very  true,  said  Adeimantus  ;  but  how  does  the  illustration 
apply  to  our  enquiry  ? 

I  will  tell  you,  I  replied ;  justice,  which  is  the  subject  of 
our  enquiry,  is,  as  you  know,  sometimes  spoken  of  as  the 
virtue  of  an  individual,  and  sometimes  as  the  virtue  of  a 

True,  he  replied. 

And  is  not  a  State  larger  than  an  individual  ? 

It  is. 

Then  in  the  larger  the  quantity  of  justice  is  likely  to  be 
larger  and  more  easily  discernible.  I  propose  therefore  that 
we  enquire  into  the  nature  of  justice  and  injustice,  first  as 
they  appear  in  the  State,  and  secondly  in  the  individual,  369 
proceeding  from  the  greater  to  the  lesser  and  comparing 

The  origin  of  the  State.  49 

That,  he  said,  is  an  excellent  proposal.  Republic 

And  if  we  imagine  the  State  in  process  of  creation,  we 

shall  see  the  justice,  and  injustice  of  the  State  in  process 
of  creation  also. 

I  dare  say. 

When  the  State  is  completed  there  may  be  a  hope  that  the 
object  of  our  search  will  be  more  easily  discovered. 

Yes,  far  more  easily. 

But  ought  we  to  attempt  to  construct  one  ?  I  said  ;  for  to 
do  so,  as  I  am  inclined  to  think,  will  be  a  very  serious  task. 
Reflect  therefore. 

I  have  reflected,  said  Adeimantus,  and  am  anxious  that 
you  should  proceed. 

A  State,  I  said,  arises,  as  I  conceive,  out  of  the  needs  The  State 
of  mankind  ;  no  one  is  self-sufficing,  but  all  of  us  have  many  U^g°u 
wants.     Can  any  other  origin  of  a  State  be  imagined  ?  wants  of 

There  can  be  no  other.  men- 

Then,  as  we  have  many  wants,  and  many  persons  are 
needed  to  supply  them,  one  takes  a  helper  for  one  purpose 
and  another  for  another;  and  when  these  partners  and 
helpers  are  gathered  together  in  one  habitation  the  body  of 
inhabitants  is  termed  a  State. 

True,  he  said. 

And  they  exchange  with  one  another,  and  one  gives,  and 
another  receives,  under  the  idea  that  the  exchange  will  be  for 
their  good. 

Very  true. 

Then,  I  said,  let  us  begin  and  create  in  idea  a  State  ;  and 
yet  the  true  creator  is  necessity,  who  is  the  mother  of  our 

Of  course,  he  replied. 

Now  the  first  and  greatest  of  necessities  is  food,  which  is  The  four  or 
the  condition  of  life  and  existence.  need^of** 

Certainly.  life,  and  the 

The  second  is  a  dwelling,  and  the  third  clothing  and  the  gnds°of  ve 

like.  citizens 

True.  whoc°r- 

respond  to 

And  now  let  us  see  how  our  city  will  be  able  to  supply  them. 
this  great  demand  :    We  may  suppose  that  one  man  is  a 
husbandman,  another  a  builder,  some  one  else  a  weaver  — 


The  barest  notion  of  a  State. 



The  divi- 
sion of 

The  first 
are  : — i.  a 

shall  we  add  to  them  a  shoemaker,  or  perhaps  some  other 
purveyor  to  our  bodily  wants  ? 

Quite  right. 

The  barest  notion  of  a  State  must  include  four  or  five  men. 


And  how  will  they  proceed  ?  Will  each  bring  the  result 
of  his  labours  into  a  common  stock  ? — the  individual  hus- 
bandman, for  example,  producing  for  four,  and  labouring 
four  times  as  long  and  as  much  as  he  need  in  the  provision 
of  food  with  which  he  supplies  others  as  well  as  himself;  or 
will  he  have  nothing  to  do  with  others  and  not  be  at  the 
trouble  of  producing  for  them,  but  provide  for  himself  alone 
a  fourth  of  the  food  in  a  fourth  of  the  time,  and  in  the  370 
remaining  three  fourths  of  his  time  be  employed  in  making 
a  house  or  a  coat  or  a  pair  of  shoes,  having  no  partnership 
with  others,  but  supplying  himself  all  his  own  wants  ? 

Adeimantus  thought  that  he  should  aim  at  producing  food 
only  and  not  at  producing  everything. 

Probably,  I  replied,  that  would  be  the  better  way;  and 
when  I  hear  you  say  this,  I  am  myself  reminded  that  we  are 
not  all  alike ;  there  are  diversities  of  natures  among  us  which 
are  adapted  to  different  occupations. 

Very  true. 

And  will  you  have  a  work  better  done  when  the  workman 
has  many  occupations,  or  when  he  has  only  one  ? 

When  he  has  only  one. 

Further,  there  can  be  no  doubt  that  a  work  is  spoilt  when 
not  done  at  the  right  time  ? 

No  doubt. 

For  business  is  not  disposed  to  wait  until  the  doer  of  the 
business  is  at  leisure ;  but  the  doer  must  follow  up  what  he 
is  doing,  and  make  the  business  his  first  object. 

He  must. 

And  if  so,  we  must  infer  that  all  things  are  produced  more 
plentifully  and  easily  and  of  a  better  quality  when  one  man 
does  one  thing  which  is  natural  to  him  and  does  it  at  the 
right  time,  and  leaves  other  things. 


Then  more  than  four  citizens  will  be  required;  for  the 
husbandman  will  not  make  his  own  plough  or  mattock,  or 

More  than  four  or  Jive  citizens  are  required.  5  1 

other  implements  of  agriculture,  if  they  are  to  be  good  for  any-   Republic 
thing.     Neither  will  the  builder  make  his  tools  —  and  he  too       7/' 
needs  many  ;  and  in  like  manner  the  weaver  and  shoemaker.     SocRATES« 



Then  carpenters,  and  smiths,  and  many  other  artisans,  will  3.' 
be  sharers  in  our  little  State,  which  is  already  beginning  to  4-  a  shoe- 

0  maker. 

§row?  To  these 

True.  must  be 

Yet  even  if  we  add  neatherds,  shepherds,  and  other  herds-  jfaciaT 
men,  in  order  that  our  husbandmen  may  have  oxen  to  plough  penter,  6.  a 
with,  and  builders  as  well  as  husbandmen  may  have  draught  ^"mer-6'0'' 
cattle,  and  curriers  and  weavers  fleeces  and  hides,  —  still  our  chants, 
State  will  not  be  very  large. 

That  is  true  ;  yet  neither  will  it  be  a  very  small  State  which 
contains  all  these. 

Then,  again,  there  is  the  situation  of  the  city—  to  find  a  place 
where  nothing  need  be  imported  is  wellnigh  impossible. 


Then  there  must  be  another  class  of  citizens  who  will  bring 
the  required  supply  from  another  city  ? 

There  must. 

371  But  if  the  trader  goes  empty-handed,  having  nothing  which 
they  require  who  would  supply  his  need,  he  will  come  back 

That  is  certain. 

And  therefore  what  they  produce  at  home  must  be  not  only 
enough  for  themselves,  but  such  both  in  quantity  and  quality 
as  to  accommodate  those  from  whom  their  wants  are  supplied. 

Very  true. 

Then  more  husbandmen  and  more  artisans  will  be  required  ? 

They  will. 

Not  to  mention  the  importers  and  exporters,  who  are  called 
merchants  ? 


Then  we  shall  want  merchants  ? 

We  shall. 

And  if  merchandise  is  to  be  carried  over  the  sea,  skilful 
sailors  will  also  be  needed,  and  in  considerable  numbers  ? 

Yes,  in  considerable  numbers. 
;    Then,  again,  within  the  city,  how  will  they  exchange  their 

£  2 

52  New  wants  and  new  classes. 

Republic      productions  ?    To  secure  such  an  exchange  was,  as  you  will 
remember,  one  of  our  principal  objects  when  we  formed 

t^lem  into  a  society  and  constituted  a  State. 

Clearly  they  will  buy  and  sell. 

Then  they  will  need  a  market-place,  and  a  money-  token 
for  purposes  of  exchange. 


The  origin        Suppose  now  that  a  husbandman,  or  an  artisan,  brings 
trade"1       some  production  to  market,  and  he  comes  at  a  time  when 
there  is  no  one  to  exchange  with  him,  —  is  he  to  leave  his 
calling  and  sit  idle  in  the  market-place  ? 

Not  at  all  ;  he  will  find  people  there  who,  seeing  the  want, 
undertake  the  office  of  salesmen.  In  well-ordered  states  they 
are  commonly  those  who  are  the  weakest  in  bodily  strength, 
and  therefore  of  little  use  for  any  other  purpose  ;  their  duty  is 
to  be  in  the  market,  and  to  give  money  in  exchange  for  goods 
to  those  who  desire  to  sell  arid  to  take  money  from  those 
who  desire  to  buy. 

This  want,  then,  creates  a  class  of  retail-traders  in  our 
State.  Is  not  'retailer*  the  term  which  is  applied  to  those 
who  sit  in  the  market-place  engaged  in  buying  and  selling, 
while  those  who  wander  from  one  city  tq  another  are  called 
merchants  ? 

Yes,  he  said. 

And  there  is  another  class  of  servants,  who  are  intellectually 
hardly  on  the  level  of  companionship  ;  still  they  have  plenty 
of  bodily  strength  for  labour,  which  accordingly  they  sell,  and 
are  called,  if  I  do  not  mistake,  hirelings,  hire  being  the  name 
which  is  given  to  the  price  of  their  labour. 


Then  hirelings  will  help  to  make  up  our  population  ? 


And  now,  Adeimantus,  is  our  State  matured  and  perfected  ? 

I  think  so. 

Where,  then,  is  justice,  and  where  is  injustice,  and  in  what 
part  of  the  State  did  they  spring  up  ? 

Probably  in  the  dealings  of  these  citizens  with  one  another.  372 
I   cannot  imagine  that  they  are  more  likely  to   be  found 
any  where  else. 

I  dare  say  that  you  are  right  in  your  suggestion,  I  said  ; 

A  city  of  pigs.  53 

we  had  better  think  the  matter  out,  and  not  shrink  from  the  Republic 

Let  us  then  consider,  first  of  all,  what  will  be  their  way  of  SocRATES> 
life,  now  that  we  have  thus  established  them.     Will  they  not  A  picture 
produce  corn,  and  wine,  and  clothes,  and  shoes,  and  build  of  primitive 
houses  for  themselves  ?   And  when  they  are  housed,  they  will  llfe* 
work,  in  summer,  commonly,  stripped  and  barefoot,  but  in 
winter  substantially  clothed  and  shod.     They  will  feed  on 
barley-meal  and  flour  of  wheat,  baking  and  kneading  them, 
making  noble  cakes  and  loaves ;  these  they  will  serve  up  on 
a  mat  of  reeds  or  on  clean  leaves,  themselves  reclining  the 
while  upon  beds  strewn  with  yew  or  myrtle    And  they  and 
their  children  will  feast,  drinking  of  the  wine  which  they  have 
made,  wearing  garlands  on  their  heads,  and  hymning  the  ' 
praises  of  the  gods,  in  happy  converse  with  one  another. 
And  they  will  take  care  that  their  families  do  not  exceed  their 
means ;  having  an  eye  to  poverty  or  war. 

But,  said  Glaucon,  interposing,  you  have  not  given  them 
a  relish  to  their  meal. 

True,  I  replied,  I  had  forgotten ;  of  course  they  must  have 
a  relish — salt,  and  olives,  and  cheese,  and  they  will  boil  roots 
and  herbs  such  as  country  people  prepare;  for  a  dessert 
we  shall  give  them  figs,  and  peas,  and  beans;  and  they 
will  roast  myrtle- berries  and  acorns  at  the  fire,  drinking  in 
moderation.  And  with  such  a  diet  they  may  be  expected  to 
live  in  peace  and  health  to  a  good  old  age,  and  bequeath  a 
similar  life  to  their  children  after  them. 

Yes,  Socrates,  he  said,  and  if  you  were  providing  for  a  city 
of  pigs,  how  else  would  you  feed  the  beasts  ? 

But  what  would  you  have,  Glaucon  ?  I  replied. 

Why,  he  said,  you  should  give  them  the  ordinary  con- 
veniences of  life.  People  who  are  to  be  comfortable  are 
accustomed  to  lie  on  sofas,  and  dine  off  tables,  and  they  should 
have  sauces  and  sweets  in  the  modern  style. 

Yes,  I  said,  now  I  understand :  the  question  which  you  A  luxurious 
would  have  me  consider  is,  not  only  how  a  State,  but  how  a  State  must 

•*  be  called 

luxurious  State  is  created ;  and  possibly  there  is  no  harm  in  into  exist- 
this,   for  in   such  a  State  we   shall  be  more   likely  to  see  ence- 
how  justice  and  injustice  originate.     In  my  opinion  the  true 
and  healthy  constitution  of  the  State  is  the  one  which  I  have 


Not  a  mere  State  but  a  luxurious  State. 



and  in  this 
many  new 
will  be  re- 

The  terri- 
tory of  our 
State  must 
be  en- 
larged; and 
hence  will 
arise  war 
between  us 
and  our 

described.  But  if  you  wish  also  to  see  a  State  at  fever-heat, 
I  have  no  objection.  For  I  suspect  that  many  will  not  be 
satisfied  with  the  simpler  way  of  life.  They  will  be  for  adding  373 
sofas,  and  tables,  and  other  furniture ;  also  dainties,  and  per- 
fumes, and  incense,  and  courtesans,  and  cakes,  all  these  not 
of  one  sort  only,  but  in  every  variety ;  we  must  go  beyond  the 
necessaries  of  which  I  was  at  first  speaking,  such  as  houses, 
and  clothes,  and  shoes :  the  arts  of  the  painter  and  the 
embroiderer  will  have  to  be  set  in  motion,  and  gold  and  ivory 
and  all  sorts  of  materials  must  be  procured. 

True,  he  said. 

Then  we  must  enlarge  our  borders;  for  the  original 
healthy  State  is  no  longer  sufficient.  Now  will  the  city  have 
to  fill  and  swell  with  a  multitude  of  callings  which  are  not 
required  by  any  natural  want;  such  as  the  whole  tribe  of 
hunters  and  actors,  of  whom  one  large  class  have  to  do  with 
forms  and  colours ;  another  will  be  the  votaries  of  music — 
poets  and  their  attendant  train  of  rhapsodists,  players,  dancers, 
contractors ;  also  makers  of  divers  kinds  of  articles,  including 
women's  dresses.  And  we  shall  want  more  servants.  Will 
not  tutors  be  also  in  request,  and  nurses  wet  and  dry, 
tirewomen  and  barbers,  as  well  as  confectioners  and  cooks ; 
and  swineherds,  too,  who  were  not  needed  and  therefore  had 
no  place  in  the  former  edition  of  our  State,  but  are  needed 
now  ?  They  must  not  be  forgotten :  and  there  will  be 
animals  of  many  other  kinds,  if  people  eat  them. 


And  living  in  this  way  we  shall  have  much  greater  need  of 
physicians  than  before  ? 

Much  greater. 

And  the  country  which  was  enough  to  support  the  original 
inhabitants  will  be  too  small  now,  and  not  enough  ? 

Quite  true. 

Then  a  slice  of  our  neighbours'  land  will  be  wanted  by  us 
for  pasture  and  tillage,  and  they  will  want  a  slice  of  ours,  if, 
like  ourselves,  they  exceed  the  limit  of  necessity,  and  give 
themselves  up  to  the  unlimited  accumulation  of  wealth  ? 

That,  Socrates,  will  be  inevitable. 

And  so  we  shall  go  to  war,  Glaucon.     Shall  we  not  ? 

Most  certainly,  he  replied. 

The  origin  of  war.  55 

Then,  without  determining  as  yet  whether  war  does  good  Republic 
or  harm,  .  thus  much  we  may  affirm,  that  now  we  have  dis-       /7> 

covered  war  to  be  derived  from  causes  which  are  also  the 
causes  of  almost  all  the  evils  in  States,  private  as  well  as 


And  our  State  must  once  more  enlarge  ;  and  this  time  the 

enlargement  will  be  nothing  short  of  a  whole  army,  which 

374  will  have  to  go  out  and  fight  with  the  invaders  for  all  that  we 

have,  as  well  as  for  the  things  and  persons  whom  we  were 

describing  above.  ••.•  ", 

Why  ?  he  said  ;  are  they  not  capable  of  defending  them- 
selves ? 

No,  I  said  ;  not  if  we  were  right  in  the  principle  which  War  is  an 
was  acknowledged  by  all  of  us  when  we  were  framing  the  ^a^can* 
State  :  the  principle,  as  you  will  remember,  was  that  one  be  pursued 
man  cannot  practise  many  arts  with  success.  wlth  su,c" 

r  cess  unless 

Very  true,  he  said.  a  man's 

But  is  not  war  an  art  ?  whole  at- 

^         .    .  tentionis 

Certainly.  devoted  to 

And  an  art  requiring  as  much  attention  as  shoemaking  ?        il«  a  soldier 

^    .  cannot  be 

Quite  true.  allowed  to 

And  the  shoemaker  was  not  allowed  by  us  to  be  a  husband-  exercise 
man,  or  a  weaver,  or  a  builder—  in  order  that  we  might  have  J^t  wf"1^ 
our  shoes  well  made  ;   but  to  him  and  to  every  other  worker  own. 
was  assigned  one  work  for  which  he  was  by  nature  fitted,  and 
at  that  he  was  to  continue  working  all  his  life  long  and  at  no 
other;   he  was  not  to  let  opportunities  slip,   and   then   he 
would  become  a  good  workman.     Now  nothing  can  be  more 
important  than  that  the  work  of  a  soldier  should  be  well 
done.     But  is  war  an  art  so  easily  acquired  that  a  man  may  The  war- 
be  a  warrior  who  is  also  a  husbandman,  or  shoemaker,  or  requ^e^a 
other  artisan  ;  although  no  one  in  the  world  would  be  a  good  long  ap- 
dice  or  draught  player  who  merely  took  up  the  game  as  a  g^nt^ 
recreation,  and  had  not  from  his  earliest  years  devoted  him-  many  na- 
self  to  this  and  nothing  else?     No  tools  will  make  a  man  a  turai  gifts. 
skilled  workman,  or  master  of  defence,  nor  be  of  any  use  to 
him  who  has  not  learned  how  to  handle  them,  and  has  never 
bestowed  any  attention  upon  them.     How  then  will  he  who 
takes  up  a  shield  or  other  implement  of  war  become  a  good 

The  soldier  should  be  like  a  watch-dog, 



The  selec- 
tion of 

fighter  all  in  a  day,  whether  with  heavy-armed  or  any  other 
kind  of  troops  ? 

Yes,  he  said,  the  tools  which  would  teach  men  their  own 
use  would  be  beyond  price. 

And  the  higher  the  duties  of  the  guardian,  I  said,  the  more 
time,  and  skill,  and  art,  and  application  will  be  needed  by  him? 

No  doubt,  he  replied. 

Will  he  not  also  require  natural  aptitude  for  his  calling  ? 


Then  it  will  be  our  duty  to  select,  if  we  can,  natures  which 
are  fitted  for  the  task  of  guarding  the  city  ? 

It  will 

And  the  selection  will  be  no  easy  matter,  I  said ;  but  we 
must  be  brave  and  do  our  best. 

We  must. 

Is  not  the  noble  youth  very  like  a  well-bred  dog  in  respect  375 
of  guarding  and  watching  ? 

What  do  you  mean  ? 

I  mean  that  both  of  them  ought  to  be  quick  to  see,  and  swift 
to  overtake  the  enemy  when  they  see  him  ;  and  strong  too  if, 
when  they  have  caught  him,  they  have  to  fight  with  him. 

All  these  qualities,  he  replied,  will  certainly  be  required  by 

Well,  and  your  guardian  must  be  brave  if  he  is  to  fight 


And  is  he  likely  to  be  brave  who  has  no  spirit,  whether 
horse  or  dog  or  any  other  animal  ?  Have  you  never  observed 
how  invincible  and  unconquerable  is  spirit  and  how  the  pre- 
sence of  it  makes  the  soul  of  any  creature  to  be  absolutely 
fearless  and  indomitable  ? 

I  have. 

Then  now  we  have  a  clear  notion  of  the  bodily  qualities 
which  are  required  in  the  guardian. 


And  also  of  the  mental  ones;  his  soul  is  to  be  full  of 
spirit  ? 


But  are  not  these  spirited  natures  apt  to  be  savage  with 
one  another,  and  with  everybody  else  ? 

gentle  to  friends,  and  dangerous  to  enemies.  5  7 

A  difficulty  by  no  means  easy  to  overcome,  he  replied.  Republic 

Whereas,   I  said,   they  ought   to   be   dangerous   to   their 

enemies,  and  gentle  to  their  friends  ;  if  not,  they  will  de- 
stroy  themselves  without  waiting  for  their  enemies  to  destroy 

True,  he  said. 

What  is  to  be  done  then  ?  I  said  ;  how  shall  we  find  a 
gentle  nature  which  has  also  a  great  spirit,  for  the  one  is  the 
contradiction  of  the  other  ? 


He  will  not  be  a  good  guardian  who  is  wanting  in  either  of  The  guard- 

these  two  qualities  ;  and  yet  the  combination  of  them  appears  lar^ 
to  be  impossible  ;   and  hence  we  must  infer  that  to  be  a  good  opposite 
guardian  is  impossible.  qualities  of 

.  .  .  gentleness 

I  am  afraid  that  what  you  say  is  true,  he  replied.  and  spirit. 

Here  feeling  perplexed  I  began  to  think  over  what  had 
preceded.  —  My  friend,  I  said,  no  wonder  that  we  are  in  a 
perplexity  ;  for  we  have  lost  sight  of  the  image  which  we  had 
before  us. 

What  do  you  mean  ?  he  said. 

I  mean  to  say  that  there  do  exist  natures  gifted  with  those 
opposite  qualities. 

And  where  do  you  find  them  ? 

Many  animals,  I  replied,  furnish  examples  of  them  ;   our  Such  a 
friend  the  dog  is  a  very  good  one  :   you  know  that  well-bred  £o™  mT" 
dogs  are  perfectly  gentle  to  their  familiars  and  acquaintances,   be  observed 
and  the  reverse  to  strangers.  in  the  d°£- 

Yes,  I  know. 

Then  there  is  nothing  impossible  or  out  of  the  order  of 
nature  in  our  finding  la  guardian  who  has  a  similar  combina- 
tion of  qualities  ? 

Certainly  not. 

Would  not  he  who  is  fitted  to  be  a  guardian,  besides  the 
spirited  nature,  need  to  have  the  qualities  of  a  philosopher  ? 

I  do  not  apprehend  your  meaning. 

376      The  trait  of  which  I  am  speaking,  I  replied,  may  be  also 
seen  in  the  dog,  and  is  remarkable  in  the  animal. 

What  trait  ? 

Why,  a  dog,  whenever  he  sees  a  stranger,  is  angry  ;   when  Jstein^°g 
an  acquaintance,  he  welcomes  him,  although  the  one   has  guishes 

The  dog  a  philosopher. 



friend  and 
enemy  by 
the  crite- 
rion of 
and  not 
knowing : 

whereby  he 
is  shown 
to  be  a  phi- 

How  are 
our  citi- 
zens to  be 
reared  and 

never  done  him  any  harm,  nor  the  other  any  good.  Did  this 
never  strike  you  as  curious  ? 

The  matter  never  struck  me  before ;  but  I  quite  recognise 
the  truth  of  your  remark. 

And  surely  this  instinct  of  the  dog  is  very  charming ; — 
your  dog  is  a  true  philosopher. 


Why,  because  he  distinguishes  the  face  of  a  friend  and  of 
an  enemy  only  by  the  criterion  of  knowing  and  not  knowing. 
And  must  not  an  animal  be  a  lover  of  learning  who  deter- 
mines what  he  likes  and  dislikes  by  the  test  of  knowledge 
and  ignorance  ? 

Most  assuredly. 

And  is  not  the  love  of  learning  the  love  of  wisdom,  which 
is  philosophy  ? 

They  are  the  same,  he  replied. 

And  may  we  not  say  confidently  of  man  ,also,  that  he  who 
is  likely  to  be  gentle  to  his  friends  and  acquaintances,  must 
by  nature  be  a  lover  of  wisdom  and  knowledge  ? 

That  we  may  safely  affirm. 

Then  he  who  ist  to  be  a  really  good  and  noble  guardian  of 
the  State  will  require  to  unite  in  himself  philosophy  and 
spirit  and  swiftness  and  strength  ? 


Then  we  have  found  the  desired  natures;  and  now  that 
we  have  found  them,  how  are  they  to  be  reared  and  educated  ? 
Is  not  this  an  enquiry  which  may  be  expected  to  throw  light 
on  the  greater  enquiry  which  is  our  final  end — How  do 
justice  and  injustice  grow  up  in  States  ?  for  we  do  not  want 
either  to  omit  what  is  to  the  point  or  to  draw  out  the  argu- 
ment to  an  inconvenient  length. 

Adeimantus  thought  that  the  enquiry  would  be  of  great 
service  to  us. 

Then,  I  said,  my  dear  friend,  the  task  must  not  be  given  up, 
even  if  somewhat  long. 

Certainly  not. 

Come  then,  and  let  us  pass  a  leisure  hour  in  story-telling, 
and  our  story  shall  be  the  education  of  our  heroes. 

By  all  means. 

And  what  shall  be  their  education  ?    Can  we  find  a  better 

Education  of  two  kinds.  59 

than    the    traditional    sort? — and   this    has    two   divisions,   Republic 
gymnastic  for  the  body,  and  music  for  the  soul. 



Shall  we   begin    education   with   music,    and    go    on    to  Education 

gymnastic  afterwards  ?  divided 

By  all  means.  j^f- 

And  when  you  speak  of  music,  do  you  include  literature  or  the  body 

not  -p  and  music 

for  the  soul. 
I  do.  Music 

And  literature  may  be  either  true  or  false  ?  !ncludes 

J  literature, 

V  63.  which  may 

377      And  the  young  should  be  trained  in  both  kinds,  and  we  £e  true  or 
begin  with  the  false  ? 

I  do  not  understand  your  meaning,  he  said. 

You  know,  I  said,  that  we  begin  by  telling  children  stories 
which,  though  not  wholly  destitute  of  truth,  are  in  the  main 
fictitious ;  and  these  stories  are  told  them  when  they  are  not 
of  an  age  to  learn  gymnastics. 

Very  true. 

That  was  my  meaning  when  I  said  that  we  must  te"ach 
music  before  gymnastics. 

Quite  right,  he  said. 

You  know  also  that  the  beginning  is  the  most  important  The  begin- 
part  of  any  work,  especially  in  the  case  of  a  young  and  tender  JJJ"ft^ 
thing;  for  that  is  the  time  at  which  the  character  is  being  portant 
formed  and  the  desired  impression  is  more  readily  taken.          Part  of 

,_  education. 

Quite  true. 

And  shall  we  just  carelessly  allow  children  to  hear  any 
casual  tales  which  may  be  devised  by  casual  persons,  and 
to  receive  into  their  minds  ideas  for  the  most  part  the 
very  opposite  of  those  which  we  should  wish  them  to  have 
when  they  are  grown  up  ? 

We  cannot. 

Then  the  first  thing  will  be  to  establish  a  censorship  of  the  Works  of 
writers  of  fiction,   and  let  the  censors  receive  any  tale  of  {^acld 
fiction  which  is  good,  and  reject  the  bad ;  and  we  will  desire  under  a 
mothers  and  nurses  to  tell  their  children  the  authorised  ones  censorship- 
only.     Let  them  fashion  the  mind  with  such  tales,  even  more 
fondly  than   they  mould  the   body  with   their   hands;    but 
most  of  those  which  are  now  in  use  must  be  discarded. 


Homer  and  Hesiod. 


Homer  and 

bad  lies, 
that  is  to 

say,  they 

give  false 

tionsof  the 


which  have 

minds  of 

Of  what  tales  are  you  speaking  ?  he  said. 

You  may  find  a  model  of  the  lesser  in  the  greater,  I  said  ; 
f°r  *key  are  necessarily  of  the  same  type,  and  there  is  the 
same  spirit  in  both  of  them. 

Very  likely,  he  replied  ;  but  I  do  not  as  yet  know  what  you 
would  term  the  greater. 

Those,  I  said,  which  are  narrated  by  Homer  and  Hesiod, 

EnC*  the  FeSt  °^  the  POets>  wno  nave  ever  been  tne  §reat  storv- 

tellers  of  mankind. 

gut  whicn  stories  do  you  mean,  he  said  ;  and  what  fault  do 

.  J 

you  find  with  them  ? 

A  fault  which  is  most  serious,  I  said  :  the  fault  of  telling  a 

..  .  ..  ; 

*ie>  and,  what  is  more,  a  bad  he. 

But  when  is  this  fault  committed  ? 

Whenever  an  erroneous  representation  is  made  of  the 
nature  of  gods  and  heroes,  —  as  when  a  painter  paints  a 
portrait  not  having  the  shadow  of  a  likeness  to  the  original. 

Yes,  he  said,  that  sort  of  thing  is  certainly  very  blameable  ; 
but  what  are  the  stories  which  you  mean  ? 

First  of  all,  I  said,  there  was  that  greatest  of  all  lies  in  high 
places,  which  the  poet  told  about  Uranus,  and  which  was  a 
bad  lie  too,  —  I  mean  what  Hesiod  says  that  Uranus  did,  and 
how  Cronus  retaliated  on  him  \  The  doings  of  Cronus,  and  378 
the  sufferings  which  in  turn  his  son  inflicted  upon  him,  even  if 
they  were  true,  ought  certainly  not  to  be  lightly  told  to  young 
and  thoughtless  persons  ;  if  possible,  they  had  better  be 
buried  in  silence.  But  if  there  is  an  absolute  necessity  for 
their  mention,  a  chosen  few  might  hear  them  in  a  mystery, 
and  they  should  sacrifice  not  a  common  [Eleusinian]  pig,  but 
some  huge  and  unprocurable  victim  ;  and  then  the  number  of 
the  hearers  will  be  very  few  indeed. 

Why,  yes,  said  he,  those  stories  are,  extremely  objectionable. 

Yes,  Adeimantus,  they  are  stories  not  to  be  repeated  in  our 
State  ;  the  young  man  should  not  be  told  that  in  committing 
the  worst  of  crimes  he  is  far  from  doing  anything  outrageous  ; 
an(j  jj^  even  if  he  chastises  his  father  when  he  does  wrong, 
in  whatever  manner,  he  will  only  be  following  the  example  of 
the  first  and  greatest  among  the  gods. 

1  Hesiod,  Theogony,  154,  459. 

The  immoralities  of  mythology.  61 

I  entirely  agree  with  you,  he  said;  in  my  opinion  those  Republic 
stories  are  quite  unfit  to  be  repeated.  n' 

Neither,  if  we  mean  our  future  guardians  to  regard  the  habit  ^™ES^ 
of  quarrelling  among  themselves  as  of  all  things  the  basest,   T!jB1|0f|Bt 
should  any  word  be  said  to  them  of  the  wars  in  heaven,  and  of  about  the 
the  plots  and  fightings  of  the  gods  against  one  another,  for  quarrels  of 
they  are  not  true.     No,  we  shall  never  mention  the  battles  of  aiuHheir 
the  giants,  or  let  them  be  embroidered  on  garments ;  and  we  evil  be- 
shall  be  silent  about  the  innumerable  other  quarrels  of  gods  t^one* 
and  heroes  with  their  friends  and  relatives.     If  they  would  another 
only  believe  us  we  would  tell  them  that  quarrelling  is  unholy,   areuntrue- 
and  that  never  up  to  this  time  has  there  been  any  quarrel 
between  citizens ;  this  is  what  old  men  and  old  women  should 
begin  by  telling  children ;  and  when  they  grow  up,  the  poets 
also  should  be  told  to  compose  for  them  in  a  similar  spirit  *. 
But  the  narrative  of  Hephaestus  binding  Here  his  mother, 
or  how  on  another  occasion  Zeus  sent  him  flying  for  taking 
her  part  when  she  was  being  beaten,  and  all  the  battles  of  the 
gods  in  Homer — these  tales  must  not  be  admitted  into  our  Andaile- 
State,  whether  they  are  supposed  to   have  an  allegorical  f^03^ 
meaning  or  not.     For  a  young  person  cannot  judge  what  is  tions  of 
allegorical  and  what  is  literal ;  anything  that  he  receives  into  them  are 
his  mind  at  that  age  is  likely  to  become  indelible  and  unalter-  stood  by 
able ;  and  therefore  it  is  most  important  that  the  tales  which  the  youns- 
the  young  first  hear  should  be  models  of  virtuous  thoughts. 

There  you  are  right,  he  replied ;  but  if  any  one  asks  where 
are  such  models  to  be  found  and  of  what  tales  are  you 
speaking— how  shall  we  answer  him  ? 

379  I  said  to  him,  You  and  I,  Adeimantus,  at  this  moment  are 
not  poets,  but  founders  of  a  State :  now  the  founders  of 
a  State  ought  to  know  the  general  forms  in  which  poets 
should  cast  their  tales,  and  the  limits  which  must  be  observed 
by  them,  but  to  make  the  tales  is  not  their  business. 

Very  true,  he  said ;  but  what  are  these  forms  of  theology 
which  you  mean  ? 

Something  of  this  kind,  I  replied: — God  is  always  to  be  God  is  to  be 
represented  as  he  truly  is,  whatever  be  the  sort  of  poetry, 
epic,  lyric  or  tragic,  in  which  the  representation  is  given.  is, 

»       Right. 

1    Placing  the  comma  after  ypavvt,  and  not  a 

62  The  greater  forms  of  theology : 

Republic          And  is  he  not  truly  good  ?  and  must  he  not  be  represented 

7/-          as  such  ? 
SOCRATES,          Certainly. 

ADEIMANTUS.  J  .         . 

And  no  good  thing  is  hurtful  ? 

No,  indeed. 

And  that  which  is  not  hurtful  hurts  not  ? 

Certainly  not. 

And  that  which  hurts  not  does  no  evil  ? 


And  can  that  which  does  no  evil  be  a  cause  of  evil  ? 


And  the  good  is  advantageous  ? 


And  therefore  the  cause  of  well-being  ? 


It   follows  therefore  that  the  good  is  not  the  cause  of 
all  things,  but  of  the  good  only  ? 


God,  if  he        Then  God,  if  he  be  good,  is  not  the  author  of  all  things,  as 

theSauthorS   tne  manv  assert,  but  he  is  the  cause  of  a  few  things  only,  and 

of  good        not  of  most  things  that  occur  to  men.     For  few  are  the  goods 

only'  of  human  life,  and  many  are  the  evils,  and  the  good  is  to  be 

attributed  to  God  alone ;  of  the  evils  the  causes  are  to  be 

sought  elsewhere,  and  not  in  him. 

That  appears  to  me  to  be  most  true,  he  said. 

The  fie-  Then  we  must  not  listen  to  Homer  or  to  any  other  poet  who 

is  guilty  of  the  folly  of  saying  that  two  casks 

'Lie  at  the  threshold  of  Zeus,  full  of  lots,  one  of  good,  the  other 
of  evil  lots  V 
and  that  he  to  whom  Zeus  gives  a  mixture  of  the  two 

'  Sometimes  meets  with  evil  fortune,  at  other  times  with  good  ; ' 
but  that  he  to  whom  is  given  the  cup  of  unmingled  ill, 
'  Him  wild  hunger  drives  o'er  the  beauteous  earth.' 
And  again— 

*  Zeus,  who  is  the  dispenser  of  good  and  evil  to  us.' 
And  if  any  one  asserts  that  the  violation  of  oaths  and  treaties, 

1  Iliad  xxiv.  527. 

I.  God  is  good  and  the  author  of  good:  2.  God  is  true.  63 

which  was  really  the  work  of  Pandarus  \  was  brought  about  Republic 
by  Athene  and  Zeus,  or  that  the  strife  and  contention  of  the       IL 
gods  was  instigated  by  Themis  and  Zeus 2,  he  shall  not  have 
our  approval ;  neither  will  we  allow  our  young  men  to  hear 
the  words  of  Aeschylus,  that 

380     « God  plants  guilt  among  men  when  he  desires  utterly  to  destroy 
a  house.' 

And  if  a  poet  writes  of  the  sufferings  of  Niobe — the  subject 
of   the    tragedy  in    which   these   iambic    verses  occur — or 
of  the  house  of  Pelops,   or  of  the  Trojan  war  or  on  any 
similar  theme,  either  we  must  not  permit  him  to  say  that 
these  are  the  works  of  God,  or  if  they  are  of  God,  he  must 
devise  some  explanation  of  them  such  as  we  are  seeking :  he  Only  that 
must  say  that  God  did  what  was  just  and  right,  and  they  fsv|Jf^Ch 
were  the  better  for  being  punished ;  but  that  those  who  are  nature  of 
punished  are  miserable,  and  that  God  is  the  author  of  their  Punish~ 

ment  to  be 

misery — the  poet  is  not  to  be  permitted  to  say;  though  he  attributed 
may  say  that  the  wicked  are  miserable  because  they  require  to  God- 
to  be  punished,  and  are  benefited  by  receiving  punishment 
from  God ;  but  that  God  being  good  is  the  author  of  evil  to 
any  one  is  to  be  strenuously  denied,  and  not  to  be  said  or 
sung  or  heard  in  verse  or  prose  by  any  one  whether  old  or 
young  in  any  well-ordered  commonwealth.     Such  a  fiction  is 
suicidal,  ruinous,  impious. 

I  agree  with  you,  he  replied,  and  am  ready  to  give  my 
assent  to  the  law. 

Let  this  then  be  one  of  our  rules  and  principles  concerning 
the  gods,  to  which  our  poets  and  reciters  will  be  expected  to 
conform, — that  God  is  not  the  author  of  all  things,  but  of 
good  only. 

That  will  do,  he  said. 

And  what  do  you  think  of  a  second  principle  ?  Shall  I  ask 
you  whether  God  is  a  magician,  and  of  a  nature  to  appear 
insidiously  now  in  one  shape,  and  now  in  another — some- 
times himself  changing  and  passing  into  many  forms,  some- 
times deceiving  us  with  the  semblance  of  such  transforma- 
tions ;  or  is  he  one  and  the  same  immutably  fixed  in  his  own 
proper  image  ? 

1  Iliad  ii.  69.  » Ib.  xx. 

The  Divine  nature  incapable  of  change. 




must  be 
either  by 
another  or 
by  them- 

But  God 
cannot  be 
changed  by 
other;  and 
will  not  be 
changed  by 

I  cannot  answer  you,  he  said,  without  more  thought. 

Well,  I  said ;  but  if  we  suppose  a  change  in  anything,  that 
change  must  be  effected  either  by  the  thing  itself,  or  by  some 
other  thing  ? 

Most  certainly. 

And  things  which  are  at  their  best  are  also  least  liable  to 
be  altered  or  discomposed ;  for  example,  when  healthiest  and 
strongest,  the  human  frame  is  least  liable  to  be  affected  by 
meats  and  drinks,  and  the  plant  which  is  in  the  fullest  vigour 
also  suffers  least  from  winds  or  the  heat  of  the  sun  or  any 
similar  causes. 

Of  course. 

And  will  not  the  bravest  and  wisest  soul  be  least  confused  381 
or  deranged  by  any  external  influence  ? 


And  the  same  principle,  as  I  should  suppose,  applies  to 
all  composite  things— furniture,  houses,  garments:  when 
good  and  well  made,  they  are  least  altered  by  time  and 

Very  true. 

Then  everything  which  is  good,  whether  made  by  art  or 
nature,  or  both,  is  least  liable  to  suffer  change  from  without  ? 


But  surely  God  and  the  things  of  God  are  in  every  way 
perfect  ? 

Of  course  they  are. 

Then  he  can  hardly  be  compelled  by  external  influence  to 
take  many  shapes  ? 

He  cannot. 

But  may  he  not  change  and  transform  himself? 

Clearly,  he  said,  that  must  be  the  case  if  he  is  changed 
at  all. 

And  will  he  then  change  himself  for  the  better  and  fairer, 
or  for  the  worse  and  more  unsightly  ? 

If  he  change  at  all  he  can  only  change  for  the  worse,  for  we 
cannot  suppose  him  to  be  deficient  either  in  virtue  or  beauty. 

Very  true,  Adeimantus ;  but  then,  would  any  one,  whether 
God  or  man,  desire  to  make  himself  worse  ? 


Then  it  is  impossible  that  God  should  ever  be  willing  to 

The  falsehoods  of  the  poets.  65 

change ;    being,  as  is  supposed,  the  fairest  and  best  that  is  Republic 
conceivable,  every  God  remains  absolutely  and  for  ever  in 

his  OWn  form.  SOCRATES, 

.       .  ADEIMANTUS. 

That  necessarily  follows,  he  said,  in  my  judgment. 
Then,  I  said,  my  dear  friend,  let  none  of  the  poets  tell  us 

'  The  gods,  taking  the  disguise  of  strangers  from  other  lands, 
walk  up  and  down  cities  in  all  sorts  of  forms * ; ' 

and  let  no  one  slander  Proteus  and  Thetis,  neither  let  any 
one,  either  in  tragedy  or  in  any  other  kind  of  poetry,  in- 
troduce Here  disguised  in  the  likeness  of  a  priestess  asking 
an  alms 

'  For  the  life-giving  daughters  of  Inachus  the  river  of  Argos ; ' 

— let  us  have  no  more  lies  of  that  sort.  Neither  must  we 
have  mothers  under  the  influence  of  the  poets  scaring 
their  children  with  a  bad  version  of  these  myths — telling 
how  certain  gods,  as  they  say,  'Go  about  by  night  in 
the  likeness  of  so  many  strangers  and  in  divers  forms;* 
but  let  them  take  heed  lest  they  make  cowards  of  their 
children,  and  at  the  same  time  speak  blasphemy  against 
the  gods. 

Heaven  forbid,  he  said. 

But  although  the  gods  are  themselves  unchangeable,  still 
by  witchcraft  and  deception  they  may  make  us  think  that 
they  appear  in  various  forms  ? 

Perhaps,  he  replied. 

Well,  but  can  you  imagine  that  God  will  be  willing  to  lie,   Nor  will  he 
whether  in  word  or  deed,  or  to  put  forth  a  phantom  of  ^er^_ 

himself?  sentation 

382      I  cannot  say,  he  replied.  of  himself. 

Do  you  not  know,  I  said,  that  the  true  lie,  if  such  an 
expression  may  be  allowed,  is  hated  of  gods  and  men  ? 

What  do  you  mean  ?  he  said. 

I  mean  that  no  one  is  willingly  deceived  in  that  which  is 
the  truest  and  highest  part  of  himself,  or  about  the  truest 
and  highest  matters ;  there,  above  all,  he  is  most  afraid  of  a 
lie  having  possession  of  him. 

1  Horn.  Od.  xvii.  485. 


The  lie  in  the  soul. 



The  true 
lie  is 
hated  both 
by  gods 
and  men  ; 
the  re- 
medial or 
lie  is  com- 
but  God 
can  have 
no  need 
of  it. 

Still,  he  said,  I  do  not  comprehend  you. 

The  reason  is,  I  replied,  that  you  attribute  some  profound 
meaning  to  my  words ;  but  I  am  only  saying  that  deception, 
or  being  deceived  or  uninformed  about  the  highest  realities  in 
the  highest  part  of  themselves,  which  is  the  soul,  and  in  that 
part  of  them  to  have  and  to  hold  the  lie,  is  what  mankind 
least  like ; — that,  I  say,  is  what  they  utterly  detest. 

There  is  nothing  more  hateful  to  them. 

And,  as  I  was  just  now  remarking,  this  ignorance  in  the 
soul  of  him  who  is  deceived  may  be  called  the  true  lie ;  for 
the  lie  in  words  is  only  a  kind  of  imitation  and  shadowy 
image  of  a  previous  affection  of  the  soul,  not  pure  unadul- 
terated falsehood.  Am  I  not  right  ? 

Perfectly  right. 

The  true  lie  is  hated  not  only  by  the  gods,  but  also  by 


Whereas  the  lie  in  words  is  in  certain  cases  useful  and  not 
hateful ;  in  dealing  with  enemies — that  would  be  an  instance ; 
or  again,  when  those  whom  we  call  our  friends  in  a  fit  of 
madness  or  illusion  are  going  to  do  some  harm,  then  it  is 
useful  and  is  a  sort  of  medicine  or  preventive ;  also  in  the 
tales  of  mythology,  of  which  we  were  just  now  speaking — 
because  we  do  not  know  the  truth  about  ancient  times,  we 
make  falsehood  as  much  like  truth  as  we  can,  and  so  turn 
it  to  account. 

Very  true,  he  said. 

But  can  any  of  these  reasons  apply  to  God?  Can  we 
suppose  that  he  is  ignorant  of  antiquity,  and  therefore  has 
recourse  to  invention  ? 

That  would  be  ridiculous,  he  said. 

Then  the  lying  poet  has  no  place  in  our  idea  of  God  ? 

I  should  say  not. 

Or  perhaps  he  may  tell  a  lie  because  he  is  afraid  of 
enemies  ? 

That  is  inconceivable. 

But  he  may  have  friends  who  are  senseless  or  mad  ? 

But  no  mad  or  senseless  person  can  be  a  friend  of  God. 

Then  no  motive  can  be  imagined  why  God  should  lie  ? 

None  whatever. 

God  is  truth.  67 

Then  the  superhuman  and  divine  is  absolutely  incapable  of  Republic 
falsehood?  7/* 


Then  is  God  perfectly  simple  and  true  both  in  word  and* 
deed * ;  he  changes  not ;  he  deceives  not,  either  by  sign  or 
word,  by  dream  or  waking  vision. 
383      Your  thoughts,  he  said,  are  the  reflection  of  my  own. 

You  agree  with  me  then,  I  said,  that  this  is  the  second 
type  or  form  in  which  we  should  write  and  speak  about  divine 
things.  The  gods  are  not  magicians  who  transform  them- 
selves, neither  do  they  deceive  mankind  in  any  way. 

I  grant  that. 

Then,  although  we  are  admirers  of  Homer,  we  do  not  Away  then 
admire  the  lying  dream  which  Zeus  sends  to  Agamemnon ; 
neither  will  we  praise  the  verses  of  Aeschylus  in  which  Ofthe 
Thetis  says  that  Apollo  at  her  nuptials 

*  Was  celebrating  in  song  her  fair  progeny  whose  days  were  to 
be  long,  and  to  know  no  sickness.  And  when  he  had  spoken  of 
my  lot  as  in  all  things  blessed  of  heaven  he  raised  a  note  of 
triumph  and  cheered  my  soul.  And  I  thought  that  the  word  of 
Phoebus,  being  divine  and  full  of  prophecy,  would  not  fail.  And 
now  he  himself  who  uttered  the  strain,  he  who  was  present  at  the 
banquet,  and  who  said  this— he  it  is  who  has  slain  my  son  V 

These  are  the  kind  of  sentiments  about  the  gods  which 
will  arouse  our  anger;  and  he  who  utters  them  shall  be 
refused  a  chorus ;  neither  shall  we  allow  teachers  to  make 
use  of  them  in  the  instruction  of  the  young,  meaning,  as  we 
do,  that  our  guardians,  as  far  as  men  can  be,  should  be  true 
worshippers  of  the  gods  and  like  them. 

I  entirely  agree,  he  said,  in  these  principles,  and  promise 
to  make  them  my  laws. 

1  Omitting  /cora  Qavravias.  2  From  a  lost  play. 

F  2 




lessons  of 

The  de- 


below  in 

SUCH  then,  I  said,  are  our  principles  of  theology—  some  steph. 
tales  are  to  be  told,  and  others  are  not  to  be  told  to  our   386 
disciples  from  their  youth   upwards,   if  we  mean  them   to 
honour  faG  gO(js  ancj  ^eir  parents,  and  to  value  friendship 
with  one  another. 

Yes  ;  and  I  think  that  our  principles  are  right,  he  said. 

gut  ^  ^Gy  are  to  be  courageous,  must  they  not  learn  other 
lessons  besides  these,  and  lessons  of  such  a  kind  as  will  take 
away  the  fear  of  death  ?  Can  any  man  be  courageous  who 
has  the  fear  of  death  in  him  ? 

Certainly  not,  he  said. 

And  can  he  be  fearless  of  death,  or  will  he  choose  death  in 
battle  rather  than  defeat  and  slavery,  who  believes  the  world 
below  to  be  real  and  terrible  ? 


Then  we  must  assume  a  control  over  the  narrators  of  this 

C^aSS  °^  ta^CS  ES  WC^  &S  °VGT  ^  others>  anc*  ^eS  t^iem  not 

simply  to  revile,  but  rather  to  commend  the  world  below, 
intimating  to  them  that  their  descriptions  are  untrue,  and 
will  do  harm  to  our  future  warriors. 

That  will  be  our  duty,  he  said. 

Then,  I  said,  we  shall  have  to  obliterate  many  obnoxious 
passages,  beginning  with  the  verses, 

*  I  would  rather  be  a  serf  on  the  land  of  a  poor  and  portionless 
man  than  rule  over  all  the  dead  who  have  come  to  nought  V 

We  must  also  expunge  the  verse,  which  tells  us  how  Pluto 

'  Lest  the  mansions  grim  and  squalid  which  the  gods  abhor 
should  be  seen  both  of  mortals  and  immortals  V 

1  Od.  xi.  489. 

a  II.  xx.  64. 

The  teaching  of  the  poets  about  Hades.  69 

And  again  : —  Republic 

'  O  heavens !  verily  in  the  house  of  Hades  there  is  soul  and 
ghostly  form  but  no  mind  at  all 1 ! '  SOCRATES, 


Again  of  Tiresias  : — 

1  [To  him  even  after  death  did  Persephone  grant  mind,]  that  he 
alone  should  be  wise ;  but  the  other  souls  are  flitting  shades  V 

Again  : — 

'  The  soul  flying  from  the  limbs  had  gone  to  Hades,  lamenting 
her  fate,  leaving  manhood  and  youth  V 

Again  : — 

387     'And  the  soul,  with  shrilling  cry,  passed  like  smoke  beneath  the 
earth  V 


'As  bats  in  hollow  of  mystic  cavern,  whenever  any  of  them  has 
dropped  out  of  the  string  and  falls  from  the  rock,  fly  shrilling 
and  cling  to  one  another,  so  did  they  with  shrilling  cry  hold  together 
as  they  moved  V 

And  we  must  beg  Homer  and  the  other  poets  not  to  be  Such  tales 
angry  if  we  strike  out  these  and  similar  passages,  not  because 
they  are  unpoetical,  or  unattractive  to  the  popular  ear,  but 
because  the  greater  the  poetical  charm  of  them,  the  less  are 
they  meet  for  the  ears  of  boys  and  men  who  are  meant  to  be 
free,  and  who  should  fear  slavery  more  than  death. 


Also  we  shall  have  to  reject  all  the  terrible  and  appalling 
names  which  describe  the  world  below — Cocytus  and  Styx, 
ghosts  under  the  earth,  and  sapless  shades,  and  any  similar 
words  of  which  the  very  mention  causes  a  shudder  to  pass 
through  the  inmost  soul  of  him  who  hears  them.  I  do  not 
say  that  these  horrible  stories  may  not  have  a  use  of  some 
kind  ;  but  there  is  a  danger  that  the  nerves  of  our  guardians 
may  be  rendered  too  excitable  and  effeminate  by  them. 

There  is  a  real  danger,  he  said. 

Then  we  must  have  no  more  of  them. 


Another  and  a  nobler  strain  must  be  composed  and  sung 
by  us. 

1  II.  xxiii.  103.  2  Od.  x.  495.  3  II.  xvi.  856. 

4  Ib.  xxiii.  100.  5  Od.  xxiv.  6. 

70  The  reform  of  Mythology. 

Republic         Clearly. 

And  shall  we  proceed  to  get  rid  of  the  weepings  and  wail- 
SOCRATES,      •          f  famous  men  ? 

ADEIMANTUS.         ° 

The  eife-  They  will  go  with  the  rest. 

minate  and  But  shall  we  be  right  in  getting  rid  of  them  ?   Reflect :  our 

strains  of  principle  is  that  the  good  man  will  not  consider  death  terrible 

famous  to  any  other  good  man  who  is  his  comrade. 

^etmoreof         YeS  '>   that  ls  °Ur  PrindPle- 

the  gods,          And  therefore  he  will  not  sorrow  for  his  departed  friend  as 
tetarish     though  he  had  suffered  anything  terrible  ? 
ed.  He  will  not. 

Such  an  one,  as  we  further  maintain,  is  sufficient  for  him- 
self and  his  own  happiness,  and  therefore  is  least  in  need  of 
other  men. 
True,  he  said. 

And  for  this  reason  the  loss  of  a  son  or  brother,  or  the 
deprivation  of  fortune,  is  to  him  of  all  men  least  terrible. 

And  therefore  he  will  be  least  likely  to  lament,  and  will 
bear  with  the  greatest  equanimity  any  misfortune  of  this  sort 
which  may  befall  him. 

Yes,  he  will  feel  such  a  misfortune  far  less  than  another. 
Then  we  shall  be  right  in  getting  rid  of  the  lamentations 
of  famous  men,  and  making  them  over  to  women  (and  not 
even  to  women  who  are  good  for  anything),  or  to  men  of  a  388 
baser  sort,  that  those  who  are  being  educated  by  us  to  be  the 
defenders  of  their  country  may  scorn  to  do  the  like. 

That  will  be  very  right. 

Such  are          Then  we  will  once  more  entreat  Homer  and  the  other 

rt*AcSs    Poets  not  to  depict  Achilles1,  who  is  the  son  of  a  goddess, 

and  Priam,'  first  lying  on  his  side,  then  on  his  back,  and  then  on  his  face ; 

then  starting  up  and  sailing  in  a  frenzy  along  the  shores  of 

the  barren  sea ;    now  taking  the  sooty  ashes  in  both  his 

hands2  and  pouring  them  over  his  head,  or  weeping  and 

wailing  in  the  various  modes  which  Homer  has  delineated. 

Nor  should  he  describe  Priam  the  kinsman  of  the  gods  as 

praying  and  beseeching, 

*  Rolling  in  the  dirt,  calling  each  man  loudly  by  his  name3.' 
1  II.  xxiv.  10.  2  Ib.  xviii.  23.  3  Ib.  xxii.  414. 

The  gods  weeping  and  laughing.  71 

Still  more  earnestly  will  we  beg  of  him  at  all  events  not  to  Republic 
introduce  the  gods  lamenting  and  saying, 

'  Alas  !  my  misery !  Alas !  that  I  bore  the  bravest  to  my  sorrow  V   AD?IMANTUS. 
But  if  he  must  introduce  the  gods,  at  any  rate  let  him  not  andofZeus 
dare  so  completely  to  misrepresent  the  greatest  of  the  gods,  ^ehddT 
as  to  make  him  say —  the  fate  of 

*  O  heavens !  with  my  eyes  verily  I  behold  a  dear  friend  of  mine   sarpedon 
chased  round  and  round  the  city,  and  my  heart  is  sorrowful  V 

Or  again : — 

*  Woe  is  me  that  I  am  fated  to  have  Sarpedon,  dearest  of  men  to 
me,  subdued  at  the  hands  of  Patroclus  the  son  of  Menoetius  V 

For  if,  my  sweet  Adeimantus,  our  youth  seriously  listen  to 
such  unworthy  representations  of  the  gods,  instead  of  laugh- 
ing at  them  as  they  ought,  hardly  will  any  of  them  deem  that 
he  himself,  being  but  a  man,  can  be  dishonoured  by  similar 
actions ;  neither  will  he  rebuke  any  inclination  which  may 
arise  in  his  mind  to  say  and  do  the  like.  And  instead  of 
having  any  shame  or  self-control,  he  will  be  always  whining 
and  lamenting  on  slight  occasions. 

Yes,  he  said,  that  is  most  true. 

Yes,  I  replied  ;  but  that  surely  is  what  ought  not  to  be,  as 
the  argument  has  just  proved  to  us;  and  by  that  proof  we 
must  abide  until  it  is  disproved  by  a  better. 

It  ought  not  to  be. 

Neither  ought  our  guardians  to  be  given  to  laughter.     For  Neither  are 
a  fit  of  laughter  which  has  been  indulged  to  excess  almost  J^t-cTce" 
always  produces  a  violent  reaction.  encouraged 

So  I  believe.  £±,* 

Then  persons  of  worth,  even  if  only  mortal  men,  must  not  pie  of  the 

be  represented  as  overcome  by  laughter,  and  still  less  must 

such  a  representation  of  the  gods  be  allowed. 
389      Still  less  of  the  gods,  as  you  say,  he  replied. 

Then  we  shall  not  suffer  such  an  expression  to  be  used 

about  the  gods  as  that  of  Homer  when  he  describes  how 

'  Inextinguishable  laughter  arose  among  the  blessed  gods,  when 
they  saw  Hephaestus  bustling  about  the  mansion  V 

On  your  views,  we  must  not  admit  them. 
1  II.  xviii.  54.  2  Ib.  xxii.  168.  8  Ib.  xvi.  433.  4  Ib.  i.  599. 

The  privilege  of  lying  confined  to  the  rulers. 



Our  youth 
must  be 

and  also 

On  my  views,  if  you  like  to  father  them  on  me ;  that  we 
must  not  admit  them  is  certain. 

Again,  truth  should  be  highly  valued  ;  if,  as  we  were  say- 
ing, a  lie  is  useless  to  the  gods,  and  useful  only  as  a  medicine 
to  men,  then  the  use  of  such  medicines  should  be  restricted 
to  physicians ;  private  individuals  have  no  business  with 

Clearly  not,  he  said. 

Then  if  any  one  at  all  is  to  have  the  privilege  of  lying,  the 
rulers  of  the  State  should  be  the  persons ;  and  they,  in  their 
dealings  either  with  enemies  or  with  their  own  citizens,  may  be 
allowed  to  lie  for  the  public  good.  But  nobody  else  should 
meddle  with  anything  of  the  kind  ;  and  although  the  rulers 
have  this  privilege,  for  a  private  man  to  lie  to  them  in  return 
is  to  be  deemed  a  more  heinous  fault  than  for  the  patient  or 
the  pupil  of  a  gymnasium  not  to  speak  the  truth  about  his 
own  bodily  illnesses  to  the  physician  or  to  the  trainer,  or  for 
a  sailor  not  to  tell  the  captain  what  is  happening  about  the 
ship  and  the  rest  of  the  crew,  and  how  things  are  going  with 
himself  or  his  fellow  sailors. 

Most  true,  he  said. 

If,  then,  the  ruler  catches  anybody  beside  himself  lying  in 
the  State, 

*  Any  of  the  craftsmen,  whether  he  be  priest  or  physician  or 
carpenter  V 

he  will  punish  him  for  introducing  a  practice  which  is  equally 
subversive  and  destructive  of  ship  or  State. 

Most  certainly,  he  said,  if  our  idea  of  the  State  is  ever 
carried  out 2. 

In  the  next  place  our  youth  must  be  temperate  ? 


Are  not  the  chief  elements  of  temperance,  speaking  gener- 
ally, obedience  to  commanders  and  self-control  in  sensual 
pleasures  ? 


Then  we  shall  approve  such  language  as  that  of  Diomede 
in  Homer, 

*  Friend,  sit  still  and  obey  my  word  V 

1  Od.  xvii.  383  sq.    8  Or,  'if  his  words  are  accompanied  by  actions.'    3  II.  iv.  41 2. 

Some  ignoble  verses;   also  a  better  strain  heard.  73 

and  the  verses  which  follow,  Republic 


'  The  Greeks  marched  breathing  prowess  \  CRATES 

.    .    .    .    in  silent  awe  of  their  leaders2,'  ADEIMANTUS. 

and  other  sentiments  of  the  same  kind. 
We  shall. 
What  of  this  line, 

*  O  heavy  with  wine,  who  hast  the  eyes  of  a  dog  and  the  heart  of 
a  stag3,' 

390  and  of  the  words  which  follow  ?  Would  you  say  that  these, 
or  any  similar  impertinences  which  private  individuals  are 
supposed  to  address  to  their  rulers,  whether  in  verse  or 
prose,  are  well  or  ill  spoken  ? 

They  are  ill  spoken. 

They  may  very  possibly  afford  some  amusement,  but  they 
do  not  conduce  to  temperance.  And  therefore  they  are 
likely  to  do  harm  to  our  young  men — you  would  agree  with 
me  there  ? 


And  then,  again,  to  make  the  wisest  of  men  say  that  nothing  The  praises 
in  his  opinion  is  more  glorious  than  of  eating 

and  dnnk- 
'  When  the  tables  are  full  of  bread  and  meat,  and  the  cup-bearer  in£» and  the 

carries  round  wine  which  he  draws  from  the  bowl  and  pours  into  J 

r  improper 

the  cups4;'  behaviour 

.     .    ,,  .  r  of  Zeus  and 

is  it  fit  or  conducive  to  temperance  for  a  young  man  to  hear  Here,  are 
such  words  ?    Or  the  verse  not  to  be 

repeated  to 
4  The  saddest  of  fates  is  to  die  and  meet  destiny  from  hunger 5 '  ?     the  young. 

What  would  you  say  again  to  the  tale  of  Zeus,  who,  while 
other  gods  and  men  were  asleep  and  he  the  only  person 
awake,  lay  devising  plans,  but  forgot  them  all  in  a  moment ' 
through  his  lust,  and  was  so  completely  overcome  at  the 
sight  of  Here  that  he  would  not  even  go  into  the  hut,  but 
wanted  to  lie  with  her  on  the  ground,  declaring  that  he  had 
never  been  in  such  a  state  of  rapture  before,  even  when  they 
first  met  one  another 

'  Without  the  knowledge  of  their  parents 6 ; ' 

1  Od.  iii.  8.  2  Ib.  iv.  431.  3  Ib.  i.  225. 

4  Ib.  ix.  8.  5  Ib.  xii.  342.  «  II.  xiv.  281. 

74  Bribery,  insolence,  lust,  and  other  vices 

Republic      or  that  other  tale  of  how  Hephaestus,  because  of  similar 
goings  on,  cast  a  chain  around  Ares  and  Aphrodite  *  ? 

Indeed,  he  said,  I  am  strongly  of  opinion  that  they  ought 

The  inde-      nOt  to  near  tnat  Sort  °^  thing. 

cent  tale  of  But  any  deeds  of  endurance  which  are  done  or  told  by 
Aphrodite  ^amous  men>  these  they  ought  to  see  and  hear;  as,  for 
The  oppo-  example,  what  is  said  in  the  verses, 

ofenduf1  *  He  smote  his  breast,  and  thus  reproached  his  heart, 

ranee.  Endure,  my  heart;  far  worse  hast  thou  endured2!' 

Certainly,  he  said. 

In  the  next  place,  we  must  not  let  them  be  receivers  of  gifts 
or  lovers  of  money. 
Certainly  not. 
Neither  must  we  sing  to  them  of 

'Gifts  persuading  gods,  and  persuading  reverend  kings3.' 

Condemna-  Neither  is  Phoenix,  the  tutor  of  Achilles,  to  be  approved  or 

Achilles       deemed  to  have  given  his  pupil  good  counsel  when  he  told 

and  Phoe-    him  that  he  should  take  the  gifts  of  the  Greeks  and  assist 

them  4  ;   but  that  without  a  gift  he  should  not  lay  aside  his 

anger.      Neither  will  we  believe  or  acknowledge  Achilles 

himself  to  have  been  such  a  lover  of  money  that  he  took 

Agamemnon's  gifts,  or  that  when  he  had  received  payment 

he  restored  the  dead  body  of  Hector,   but    that  without 

payment  he  was  unwilling  to  do  so  5. 

Undoubtedly,  he  said,  these  are  not  sentiments  which  can  391 
be  approved. 

Loving  Homer  as  I  do6,  I  hardly  like  to  say  that  in 
attributing  these  feelings  to  Achilles,  or  in  believing  that 
they  are  truly  attributed  to  him,  he  is  guilty  of  downright 
impiety.  As  little  can  I  believe  the  narrative  of  his  insolence 
to  Apollo,  where  he  says, 

'Thou  hast  wronged  me,  O  far-darter,  most  abominable  of 
deities.  Verily  I  would  be  even  with  thee,  if  I  had  only  the 
power  7  ;  ' 

or  his  insubordination  to  the  river-god  8,  on  whose  divinity 
he  is  ready  to  lay  hands  ;  or  his  offering  to  the  dead  Patroclus 

1  Od.  viii.  266.  2  Ib.  xx.  17. 

3  Quoted  by  Suidas  as  attributed  to  Hesiod.        4  II.  ix.  515.        5  Ib.  xxiv.  175. 
6  Cf.  infra,  x.  595.  7  H.  xxii.  15  sq.  8  Ib.  xxi.  130,  223  sq. 

should  have  no  place  among  the  gods. 


of  his  own  hair  \  which  had  been  previously  dedicated  to  the 
other  river-god  Spercheius,  and  that  he  actually  performed 
this  vow ;  or  that  he  dragged  Hector  round  the  tomb  of 
Patroclus 2,  and  slaughtered  the  captives  at  the  pyre 3 ;  of  all 
this  I  cannot  believe  that  he  was  guilty,  any  more  than  I  can 
allow  our  citizens  to  believe  that  he,  the  wise  Cheiron's 
pupil,  the  son  of  a  goddess  and  of  Peleus  who  was  the 
gentlest  of  men  and  third  in  descent  from  Zeus,  was  so  dis- 
ordered in  his  wits  as  to  be  at  one  time  the  slave  of  two 
seemingly  inconsistent  passions,  meanness,  not  untainted 
by  avarice,  combined  with  overweening  contempt  of  gods 
and  men. 

You  are  quite  right,  he  replied. 

And  let  us  equally  refuse  to  believe,  or  allow  to  be  re- 
peated, the  tale  of  Theseus  son  of  Poseidon,  or  of  Peirithous 
son  of  Zeus,  going  forth  as  they  did  to  perpetrate  a  horrid 
rape;  or  of  any  other  hero  or  son  of  a  god  daring  to  do  such 
impious  and  dreadful  things  as  they  falsely  ascribe  to  them  in 
our  day  :  and  let  us  further  compel  the  poets  to  declare  either 
that  these  acts  were  not  done  by  them,  or  that  they  were  not 
the  sons  of  gods ; — both  in  the  same  breath  they  shall  not 
be  permitted  to  affirm.  We  will  not  have  them  trying  to 
persuade  our  youth  that  the  gods  are  the  authors  of  evil,  and 
that  heroes  are  no  better  than  men — sentiments  which,  as  we 
were  saying,  are  neither  pious  nor  true,  for  we  have  already 
proved  that  evil  cannot  come  from  the  gods. 

Assuredly  not. 

And  further  they  are  likely  to  have  a  bad  effect  on  those 
who  hear  them ;  for  everybody  will  begin  to  excuse  his  own 
vices  when  he  is  convinced  that  similar  wickednesses  are 
always  being  perpetrated  by — 

'  The  kindred  of  the  gods,  the  relatives  of  Zeus,  whose  ancestral 
altar,  the  altar  of  Zeus,  is  aloft  in  air  on  the  peak  of  Ida,' 

and  who  have 

'  the  blood  of  deities  yet  flowing  in  their  veins  V 

And  therefore  let  us  put  an  end  to  such  tales,  lest  they 
392  engender  laxity  of  morals  among  the  young. 

1  II.  xxiii.  151.  2  Ib.  xxii.  394.  3  Ib.  xxiii.  175. 

*  From  the  Niobe  of  Aeschylus. 



The  im- 
pious be- 
haviour of 
Achilles  to 
Apollo  and 
the  river- 
gods  ;  his 

The  tale  of 
and  Peiri- 

The  bad 
effect  of 
these  my- 
tales  upon 
the  young. 

76  The  styles  of  poetry. 

Republic          By  all  means,  he  replied. 

But  now  that  we  are  determining  what  classes  of  subjects 

AOTMANTUS  **^  or  are  not  to  ^e  sPoken  of»  let  us  see  whether  any  have 
been  omitted  by  us.  The  manner  in  which  gods  and  demigods 
and  heroes  and  the  world  below  should  be  treated  has  been 
already  laid  down. 

Very  true. 

Misstate-          And  what  shall  we  say  about  men?     That  is  clearly  the 
th^oets      remaining  portion  of  our  subject. 
about  men.       Clearly  so. 

But  we  are  not  in  a  condition  to  answer  this  question 
at  present,  my  friend. 

Why  not  ? 

Because,  if  I  am  not  mistaken,  we  shall  have  to  say  that 
about  men  poets  and  story-tellers  are  guilty  of  making  the 
gravest  misstatements  when  they  tell  us  that  wicked  men  are 
often  happy,  and  the  good  miserable;  and  that  injustice  is 
profitable  when  undetected,  but  that  justice  is  a  man's 
own  loss  and  another's  gain — these  things  we  shall  forbid 
them  to  utter,  and  command  them  to  sing  and  say  the 

To  be  sure  we  shall,  he  replied. 

But  if  you  admit  that  I  am  right  in  this,  then  I  shall 
maintain  that  you  have  implied  the  principle  for  which  we 
have  been  all  along  contending. 

I  grant  the  truth  of  your  inference. 

That  such  things  are  or  are  not  to  be  said  about  men  is  a 
question  which  we  cannot  determine  until  we  have  discovered 
what  justice  is,  and  how  naturally  advantageous  to  the 
possessor,  whether  he  seem  to  be  just  or  not. 

Most  true,  he  said. 

Enough  of  the  subjects  of  poetry :  let  us  now  speak  of  the 
style;  and  when  this  has  been  considered,  both  matter  and 
manner  will  have  been  completely  treated. 

I  do  not  understand  what  you  mean,  said  Adeimantus. 

Then  I  must  make  you  understand ;  and  perhaps  I  may  be 
more  intelligible  if  I  put  the  matter  in  this  way.  You  are 
aware,  I  suppose,  that  all  mythology  and  poetry  is  a  narration 
of  events,  either  past,  present,  or  to  come  ? 

Certainly,  he  replied. 

Difference  between  Epic  and  Dramatic  poetry.  77 

And  narration  may  be  either  simple  narration,  or  imitation,   Republic 
or  a  union  of  the  two  ? 

That  again,  he  said,  I  do  not  quite  understand. 

I  fear  that  I  must  be  a  ridiculous  teacher  when  I  have  Anal  sisof 
so  much  difficulty  in  making  myself  apprehended.    Like  a  bad  the  drama- 
speaker,  therefore,  I  will  not  take  the  whole  of  the  subject,   Jj^16™3111 
but  will  break  a  piece  off  in  illustration  of  my  meaning.    You  poetry, 
know  the  first  lines  of  the  Iliad,  in  which  the  poet  says  that 
393  Chryses  prayed  Agamemnon  to  release  his  daughter,   and 
that  Agamemnon  flew  into  a  passion  with  him ;   whereupon 
Chryses,  failing  of  his  object,  invoked  the  anger  of  the  God 
against  the  Achaeans.     Now  as  far  as  these  lines, 

'And  he  prayed  all  the  Greeks,  but  especially  the  two  sons 
of  Atreus,  the  chiefs  of  the  people,' 

the  poet  is  speaking  in  his  own  person ;  he  never  leads  us  to 
suppose  that  he  is  any  one  else.  But  in  what  follows  he 
takes  the  person  of  Chryses,  and  then  he  does  all  that  he  can 
to  make  us  believe  that  the  speaker  is  not  Homer,  but  the 
aged  priest  himself.  And  in  this  double  form  he  has  cast  the 
entire  narrative  of  the  events  which  occurred  at  Troy  and  in 
Ithaca  and  throughout  the  Odyssey. 


And  a  narrative  it  remains  both  in  the  speeches  which  the 
poet  recites  from  time  to  time  and  in  the  intermediate 
passages  ? 

Quite  true. 

But  when  the  poet  speaks  in  the  person  of  another,  may  we  Epic  poetry 
not  say  that  he  assimilates  his  style  to  that  of  the  person  who,  hasan<;ie- 

,       T  .  .  to  mentof 

as  he  informs  you,  is  going  to  speak  ?  imitation 

Certainly.  in  the 

And  this  assimiliation   of  himself  to  another,  either  by  theTesUs 

the  use  of  voice  or  gesture,  is  the  imitation  of  the  person  simple  nar- 

whose  character  he  assumes  ? 
Of  course. 
Then  in  this  case  the  narrative  of  the  poet  may  be  said 

to  proceed  by  way  of  imitation  ? 
Very  true. 
Or,  if  the  poet  everywhere  appears  and  never  conceals 

himself,  then  again  the  imitation  is  dropped,  and  his  poetry 

becomes  simple  narration.     However,  in  order  that  I  may  S° 

The  imitative  art. 



and  Come- 
dy are 
imitative ; 
bic  and 

other  kinds 
of  poetry 
are  devoid 
of  imita- 
tion.    Epic 
poetry  is  a 
tion of  the 

make  my  meaning  quite  clear,  and  that  you  may  no  more  say, 
'  I  don't  understand/  I  will  show  how  the  change  might 
be  effected.  If  Homer  had  said,  '  The  priest  came,  having  his 
daughter's  ransom  in  his  hands,  supplicating  the  Achaeans, 
and  above  all  the  kings  ;  '  and  then  if,  instead  of  speaking  in 
the  person  of  Chryses,  he  had  continued  in  his  own  person, 
the  words  would  have  been,  not  imitation,  but  simple  narration. 
The  passage  would  have  run  as  follows  (I  am  no  poet,  and 
therefore  I  drop  the  metre),  '  The  priest  came  and  prayed  the 
gods  on  behalf  of  the  Greeks  that  they  might  capture  Troy 
and  return  safely  home,  but  begged  that  they  would  give  him 
back  his  daughter,  and  take  the  ransom  which  he  brought, 
and  respect  the  God.  Thus  he  spoke,  and  the  other  Greeks 
revered  the  priest  and  assented.  But  Agamemnon  was 
wroth,  and  bade  him  depart  and  not  come  again,  lest  the  staff 
and  chaplets  of  the  God  should  be  of  no  avail  to  him  —  the 
daughter  of  Chryses  should  not  be  released,  he  said  —  she 
should  grow  old  with  him  in  Argos.  And  then  he  told 
him  to  go  away  and  not  to  provoke  him,  if  he  intended 
to  get  home  unscathed.  And  the  old  man  went  away  in 
fear  and  silence,  and,  when  he  had  left  the  camp,  he  394 
called  upon  Apollo  by  his  many  names,  reminding  him 
of  everything  which  he  had  done  pleasing  to  him,  whether  in 
building  his  temples,  or  in  offering  sacrifice,  and  praying  that 
his  good  deeds  might  be  returned  to  him,  and  that  the 
Achaeans  might  expiate  his  tears  by  the  arrows  of  the  god/  — 
and  so  on.  In  this  way  the  whole  becomes  simple  narrative. 

I  understand,  he  said. 

Or  you  may  suppose  the  opposite  case  —  that  the  inter- 
mediate passages  are  omitted,  and  the  dialogue  only  left. 

That  also,  he  said,  I  understand  ;  you  mean,  for  example, 
as  in  tragedy. 

You  have  conceived  my  meaning  perfectly  ;  and  if  I  mistake 
not,  what  you  failed  to  apprehend  before  is  now  made  clear  to 
you,  that  poetry  and  mythology  are,  in  some  cases,  wholly 
imitative—  instances  of  this  are  supplied  by  tragedy  and 
comedy;  there  is  likewise  the  opposite  style,  in  which  the 
poet  is  the  only  speaker  —  of  this  the  dithyramb  affords  the  best 
example  ;  and  the  combination  of  both  is  found  in  epic,  and 
in  several  other  styles  of  poetry.  Do  I  take  you  with  me  ? 

The  feebleness  of  imitators. 


Yes,  he  said  ;  I  see  now  what  you  meant. 
I  will  ask  you  to  remember  also  what  I  began  by  saying, 
that  we  had  done  with  the  subject  and  might  proceed  to 


the  style. 

Yes,  I  remember. 

In  saying  this,  I  intended  to  imply  that  we  must  come  to  an 
understanding  about  the  mimetic  art,  —  whether  the  poets, 
in  narrating  their  stories,  are  to  be  allowed  by  us  to  imitate, 
and  if  so,  whether  in  whole  or  in  part,  and  if  the  latter,  in 
what  parts  ;  or  should  all  imitation  be  prohibited  ? 

You  mean,  I  suspect,  to  ask  whether  tragedy  and  comedy 
shall  be  admitted  into  our  State  ? 

Yes,  I  said  ;  but  there  may  be  more  than  this  in  question  : 
I  really  do  not  know  as  yet,  but  whither  the  argument  may 
blow,  thither  we  go. 

And  go  we  will,  he  said. 

Then,  Adeimantus,  let  me  ask  you  whether  our  guardians 
ought  to  be  imitators  ;  or  rather,  has  not  this  question  been 
decided  by  the  rule  already  laid  down  that  one  man  can  only 
do  one  thing  well,  and  not  many;  and  that  if  he  attempt 
many,  he  will  altogether  fail  of  gaining  much  reputation 
in  any? 


And  this  is  equally  true  of  imitation;  no  one  man  can 
imitate  many  things  as  well  as  he  would  imitate  a  single  one  ? 

He  cannot. 

395  Then  the  same  person  will  hardly  be  able  to  play  a  serious 
part  in  life,  and  at  the  same  time  to  be  an  imitator  and  imitate 
many  other  parts  as  well;  for  even  when  two  species  of 
imitation  are  nearly  allied,  the  same  persons  cannot  succeed 
in  both,  as,  for  example,  the  writers  of  tragedy  and  comedy 
—  did  you  not  just  now  call  them  imitations  ? 

Yes,  I  did  ;  and  you  are  right  in  thinking  that  the  same 
persons  cannot  succeed  in  both. 

Any  more  than  they  can  be  rhapsodists  and  actors  at  once  ? 


Neither  are  comic  and  tragic  actors  the  same  ;  yet  all  these 
things  are  but  imitations. 

They  are  so. 

And  human  nature,  Adeimantus,  appears  to   have  been 





A  hint 

(cp.  infra, 
bk-  x>) 
Our  guard- 


only  do  one 
thing  well; 




he  cannot 
even  imi- 
tate many 

which  are 
of  the  de- 

One  man  should  not  play  many  parts. 

coined  into  yet  smaller  pieces,  and  to  be  as  incapable  of 
imitating  many  things  well,  as  of  performing  well  the  actions 
of  which  the  imitations  are  copies. 

Quite  true,  he  replied. 

If  then  we  adhere  to  our  original  notion  and  bear  in  mind 
that  our  guardians,  setting  aside  every  other  business,  are  to 
dedicate  themselves  wholly  to  the  maintenance  of  freedom  in 
the  State,  making  this  their  craft,  and  engaging  in  no  work 
which  does  not  bear  on  this  end,  they  ought  not  to  practise 
or  imitate  anything  else ;  if  they  imitate  at  all,  they  should 
imitate  from  youth  upward  only  those  characters  which 
are  suitable  to  their  profession — the  courageous,  temperate, 
holy,  free,  and  the  like;  but  they  should  not  depict  or  be 
skilful  at  imitating  any  kind  of  illiberality  or  baseness,  lest 
from  imitation  they  should  come  to  be  what  they  imitate. 
Did  you  never  observe  how  imitations,  beginning  in  early 
youth  and  continuing  far  into  life,  at  length  grow  into  habits 
and  become  a  second  nature,  affecting  body,  voice,  and 

Yes,  certainly,  he  said. 

Then,  I  said,  we  will  not  allow  those  for  whom  we  profess 
a  care  and  of  whom  we  say  that  they  ought  to  be  good  men, 
to  imitate  a  woman,  whether  young  or  old,  quarrelling  with 
her  husband,  or  striving  and  vaunting  against  the  gods  in 
conceit  of  her  happiness,  or  when  she  is  in  affliction,  or 
sorrow,  or  weeping;  and  certainly  not  one  who  is  in  sick- 
ness, love,  or  labour. 

Very  right,  he  said. 

Neither  must  they  represent  slaves,  male  or  female,  per- 
forming the  offices  of  slaves  ? 

They  must  not. 

And  surely  not  bad  men,  whether  cowards  or  any  others, 
who  do  the  reverse  of  what  we  have  just  been  prescribing, 
who  scold  or  mock  or  revile  one  another  in  drink  or  out  of 
drink,  or  who  in  any  other  manner  sin  against  themselves 
and  their  neighbours  in  word  or  deed,  as  the  manner  of  such 
is.  Neither  should  they  be  trained  to  imitate  the  action  or  396 
speech  of  men  or  women  who  are  mad  or  bad ;  for  madness, 
like  vice,  is  to  be  known  but  not  to  be  practised  or  imitated. 

Very  true,  he  replied. 

The  good  man  will  not  act  a  part  unworthy  of  him.  8  1 

^Neither   may  they  imitate   smiths  or  other   artificers,  or  Republic 
oarsmen,  or  boatswains,  or  the  like  ? 

How  can  they,  he  said,  when  they  are  not  allowed  to  apply 
their  minds  to  the  callings  of  any  of  these  ? 

Nor  may  they  imitate  the  neighing  of  horses,  the  bellowing 
of  bulls,  the  murmur  of  rivers  and  roll  of  the  ocean,  thunder, 
and  all  that  sort  of  thing  ? 

Nay,  he  said,  if  madness  be  forbidden,  neither  may  they 
copy  the  behaviour  of  madmen. 

You  mean,  I  said,  if  I  understand  you  aright,  that  there  is 
one  sort  of  narrative  style  which  may  be  employed  by  a  truly 
good  man  when  he  has  anything  to  say,  and  that  another  sort 
will  be  used  by  a  man  of  an  opposite  character  and  education. 

And  which  are  these  two  sorts  ?  he  asked. 

Suppose,  I  answered,  that  a  just  and  good  man  in  the  imitations 
course  of  a  narration  conies  on  some  saying  or  action  of  J^11^  may 
another  good  man,  —  I  should  imagine  that  he  will  like  to  couraged. 
personate  him,   and  will  not  be  ashamed  of  this  sort  of 
imitation  :   he  will  be  most  ready  to  play  the  part  of  the 
good  man  when  he  is  acting  firmly  and  wisely;    in  a  less 
degree  when  he  is  overtaken  by  illness  or  love  or  drink,  or 
has  met  with  any  other  disaster.     But  when  he  comes  to  a 
character  which  is  unworthy  of  him,  he  will  not  make  a 
study  of  that  ;  he  will  disdain  such  a  person,  and  will  assume 
his  likeness,  if  at  all,  for  a  moment  only  when  he  is  performing 
some  good  action  ;  at  other  times  he  will  be  ashamed  to  play 
a  part  which  he  has  never  practised,  nor  will  he  like  to 
fashion  and  frame  himself  after  the  baser  models  ;  he  feels 
the  employment  of  such  an  art,  unless  in  jest,  to  be  beneath 
him,  and  his  mind  revolts  at  it. 

So  I  should  expect,  he  replied. 

Then  he  will  adopt  a  mode  of  narration  such  as  we  have 
illustrated  out  of  Homer,  that  is  to  say,  his  style  will  be  both 
imitative  and  narrative  ;  but  there  will  be  very  little  of  the 
former,  and  a  great  deal  of  the  latter.  Do  you  agree  ? 

Certainly,  he  said  ;  that  is  the  model  which  such  a  speaker 
397  must  necessarily  take. 

But  there  is  another  sort  of  character  who  will  narrate  imitations 
anything,  and,  the  worse  he  is,  the  more  unscrupulous  he  will  ™hj^h  arr^ 
be  ;  nothing  will  be  too  bad  for  him  :  and  he  will  be  ready  to  hibited. 


Three  styles,  simple,  pantomimic,  mixed. 



Two  kinds 
of  style — 
the  one 
simple,  the 
other  mul- 
a  third 
which  is  a 
tion of  the 

The  simple 
style  alone 
is  to  be 
admitted  in 
the  State ; 
the  attrac- 
tions of 
the  mixed 
style  are 
ledged, but 
it  appears 
to  be  ex- 

imitate  anything,  not  as  a  joke,  but  in  right  good  earnest,  and 
before  a  large  company.  As  I  was  just  now  saying,  he  will 
attempt  to  represent  the  roll  of  thunder,  the  noise  of  wind 
and  hail,  or  the  creaking  of  wheels,  and  pulleys,  and  the 
various  sounds  of  flutes,  pipes,  trumpets,  and  all  sorts  of 
instruments :  he  will  bark  like  a  dog,  bleat  like  a  sheep,  or 
crow  like  a  cock ;  his  entire  art  will  consist  in  imitation  of 
voice  and  gesture,  and  there  will  be  very  little  narration. 

That,  he  said,  will  be  his  mode  of  speaking. 

These,  then,  are  the  two  kinds  of  style  ? 


And  you  would  agree  with  me  in  saying  that  one  of  them  is 
simple  and  has  but  slight  changes ;  and  if  the  harmony  and 
rhythm  are  also  chosen  for  their  simplicity,  the  result  is  that 
the  speaker,  if  he  speaks  correctly,  is  always  pretty  much  the 
same  in  style,  and  he  will  keep  within  the  limits  of  a  single 
harmony  (for  the  changes  are  not  great),  and  in  like  manner 
he  will  make  use  of  nearly  the  same  rhythm? 

That  is  quite  true,  he  said. 

Whereas  the  other  requires  all  sorts  of  harmonies  and  all 
sorts  of  rhythms,  if  the  music  and  the  style  are  to  correspond, 
because  the  style  has  all  sorts  of  changes. 

That  is  also  perfectly  true,  he  replied. 

And  do  not  the  two  styles,  or  the  mixture  of  the  two,  com- 
prehend all  poetry,  and  every  form  of  expression  in  words  ? 
No  one  can  say  anything  except  in  one  or  other  of  them  or  in 
both  together. 

They  include  all,  he  said. 

And  shall  we  receive  into  our  State  all  the  three  styles,  or 
one  only  of  the  two  unmixed  styles  ?  or  would  you  include 
the  mixed  ? 

I  should  prefer  only  to  admit  the  pure  imitator  of  virtue. 

Yes,  I  said,  Adeimantus ;  but  the  mixed  style  is  also  very 
charming :  and  indeed  the  pantomimic,  which  is  the  opposite 
of  the  one  chosen  by  you,  is  the  most  popular  style  with 
children  and  their  attendants,  and  with  the  world  in  general. 

I  do  not  deny  it. 

But  I  suppose  you  would  argue  that  such  a  style  is  unsuit- 
able to  our  State,  in  which  human  nature  is  not  twofold  or 
manifold,  for  one  man  plays  one  part  only  ? 

The  melody  and  rhythm  are  to  follow  the  words.  83 

Yes ;  quite  unsuitable.  Republic 

And  this  is  the  reason  why  in  our  State,  and  in  our  State      7//* 
only,  we  shall  find  a  shoemaker  to  be  a  shoemaker  and  not  SOCRATES, 

111  t  ADEIMANTUS, 

a  pilot  also,  and  a  husbandman  to  be  a  husbandman  and  not  a  GLAUCON. 
dicast  also,  and  a  soldier  a  soldier  and  not  a  trader  also,  and 
the  same  throughout  ? 

True,  he  said. 

398     And  therefore  when  any  one  of  these  pantomimic  gentle-  The  panto- 
men,   who   are   so   clever   that   they  can   imitate   anything,   p111™0^51 

J  °'    is  to  receive 

comes  to   us,   and    makes    a   proposal   to    exhibit    himself  great 
and    his    poetry,   we  will  fall   down   and  worship   him  as  honours, 

...  ,  .      c  .     ,     .  ,  but  he  is  to 

a    sweet    and    holy  and   wonderful    being;    but    we    must  be  sent  out 
also    inform   him   that   in   our   State   such   as    he    are   not  of  the 
permitted  to  exist;    the  law  will  not  allow  them.    And  so  c 
when  we  have  anointed  him  with  myrrh,  and  set  a  garland 
of  wool  upon  his  head,  we  shall  send  him  away  to  another 
city.      For  we  mean  to  employ  for  our  souls'  health  the 
rougher  and  severer  poet  or  story-teller,  who  will  imitate 
the  style  of  the  virtuous  only,  and  will  follow  those  models 
which  we  prescribed  at  first  when  we  began  the  education 
of  our  soldiers. 

We  certainly  will,  he  said,  if  we  have  the  power. 

Then  now,  my  friend,  I  said,  that  part  of  music  or  literary 
education  which  relates  to  the  story  or  myth  may  be  con- 
sidered to  be  finished ;  for  the  matter  and  manner  have  both 
been  discussed. 

I  think  so  too,  he  said. 

Next  in  order  will  follow  melody  and  song. 

That  is  obvious. 

Every  one  can  see  already  what  we  ought  to  say  about 
them,  if  we  are  to  be  consistent  with  ourselves. 

I  fear,  said  Glaucon,  laughing,  that  the  word  'every  one' 
hardly  includes  me,  for  I  cannot  at  the  moment  say  what 
they  should  be ;  though  I  may  guess. 

At  any  rate  you  can  tell  that  a  song  or  ode  has  three 
parts — the  words,  the  melody,  and  the  rhythm ;  that  degree 
of  knowledge  I  may  presuppose  ? 

Yes,  he  said ;  so  much  as  that  you  may. 

And  as  for  the  words,  there  will  surely  be  no  difference 
between  words  which  are  and  which  are  not  set  to  music ; 

G  2 

The  harmonies  or  modes  and  their  effects. 






The  re- 
laxed me- 
lodies or 
are  the 
Ionian  and 
the  Lydian. 
These  are 
to  be 

both  will  conform  to  the  same  laws,  and  these  have  been 
already  determined  by  us  ? 


And  the  melody  and  rhythm  will  depend  upon  the  words  ? 


We  were  saying,  when  we  spoke  of  the  subject-matter, 
that  we  had  no  need  of  lamentation  and  strains  of  sorrow  ? 


And  which  are  the  harmonies  expressive  of  sorrow  ?  You 
are  musical,  and  can  tell  me. 

The  harmonies  which  you  mean  are  the  mixed  or  tenor 
Lydian,  and  the  full-toned  or  bass  Lydian,  and  such  like. 

These  then,  I  said,  must  be  banished;  even  to  women 
who  have  a  character  to  maintain  they  are  of  no  use,  and 
much  less  to  men. 


In  the  next  place,  drunkenness  and  softness  and  indolence 
are  utterly  unbecoming  the  character  of  our  guardians. 

Utterly  unbecoming. 

And  which  are  the  soft  or  drinking  harmonies  ? 

The  Ionian,  he  replied,  and  the  Lydian ;  they  are  termed  399 

Well,  and  are  these  of  any  military  use  ? 

Quite  the  reverse,  he  replied ;  and  if  so  the  Dorian  and  the 
Phrygian  are  the  only  ones  which  you  have  left. 

I  answered :  Of  the  harmonies  I  know  nothing,  but  I  want 
to  have  one  warlike,  to  sound  the  note  or  accent  which 
a  brave  man  utters  in  the  hour  of  danger  and  stern  resolve, 
or  when  his  cause  is  failing,  and  he  is  going  to  wounds 
or  death  or  is  overtaken  by  some  other  evil,  and  at  every 
such  crisis  meets  the  blows  of  fortune  with  firm  step  and 
a  determination  to  endure ;  and  another  to  be  used  by  him 
in  times  of  peace  and  freedom  of  action,  when  there  is  no 
pressure  of  necessity,  and  he  is  seeking  to  persuade  God  by 
prayer,  or  man  by  instruction  and  admonition,  or  on  the  other 
hand,  when  he  is  expressing  his  willingness  to  yield  to 
persuasion  or  entreaty  or  admonition,  and  which  represents 
him  when  by  prudent  conduct  he  has  attained  his  end,  not 
carried  away  by  his  success,  but  acting  moderately  and  wisely 
under  the  circumstances,  and  acquiescing  in  the  event.  These 

Musical  instruments  ;  rhythms.  85 

two  harmonies  I  ask  you  to  leave ;   the  strain  of  necessity  Republic 
and  the  strain  of  freedom,  the  strain  of  the  unfortunate  and      IIL 
the  strain  of  the  fortunate,  the  strain  of  courage,  and  the  SOCRATES, 
strain  of  temperance ;  these,  I  say,  leave. 

And  these,  he  replied,  are  the  Dorian  and  Phrygian  har- 
monies of  which  I  was  just  now  speaking. 

Then,  I  said,  if  these  and  these  only  are  to  be  used  in  our  The  Do- 
songs  and  melodies,  we  shall  not  want  multiplicity  of  notes  ^  a?d 

.  .  *  Phrygian 

or  a  panharmonic  scale  ?  are  to  be 

I  Suppose  not.  retained. 

Then  we  shall  not  maintain  the  artificers  of  lyres  with 
three  corners  and  complex  scales,  or  the  makers  of  any  other 
many-stringed  curiously-harmonised  instruments  ? 

Certainly  not. 

But  what  do  you  say  to  flute-makers  and  flute-players?  Musical 
Would  you  admit  them  into  our  State  when  you  reflect  that  JU^T_ 
in  this  composite  use  of  harmony  the  flute  is  worse  than  which  are 
all  the  stringed  instruments  put  together;    even  the  pan-  fobe re- 
harmonic  music  is  only  an  imitation  of  the  flute  ?  which  *" 

Clearly  not.  allowed  ? 

There  remain  then  only  the  lyre  and  the  harp  for  use  in 
the  city,  and  the  shepherds  may  have  a  pipe  in  the  country. 

That  is  surely  the  conclusion  to  be  drawn  from  the 

The  preferring  of  Apollo  and  his  instruments  to  Marsyas 
and  his  instruments  is  not  at  all  strange,  I  said. 

Not  at  all,  he  replied. 

And  so,  by  the  dog  of  Egypt,  we  have  been  unconsciously 
purging  the  State,  which  not  long  ago  we  termed  luxurious. 

And  we  have  done  wisely,  he  replied. 

Then  let  us  now  finish  the  purgation,  I  said.  Next  in  order 
to  harmonies,  rhythms  will  naturally  follow,  and  they  should 
be  subject  to  the  same  rules,  for  we  ought  not  to  seek  out 
complex  systems  of  metre,  or  metres  of  every  kind,  but  rather 
to  discover  what  rhythms  are  the  expressions  of  a  courageous 
400  and  harmonious  life ;  and  when  we  have  found  them,  we 
shall  adapt  the  foot  and  the  melody  to  words  having  a  like 
spirit,  not  the  words  to  the  foot  and  melody.  To  say  what 
these  rhythms  are  will  be  your  duty — you  must  teach  me 
them,  as  you  have  already  taught  me  the  harmonies. 


The  question  of  rhythms  referred  to  Damon. 



kinds  of 
rhythm  as 
there  are 
four  notes 
of  the  te- 

and  har- 
style,  and 
style  is  the 
of  the  soul. 

But,  indeed,  he  replied,  I  cannot  tell  you.  I  only  know 
that  there  are  some  three  principles  of  rhythm  out  of  which 
metrical  systems  are  framed,  just  as  in  sounds  there  are  four 
notes *  out  of  which  all  the  harmonies  are  composed ;  that  is 
an  observation  which  I  have  made.  But  of  what  sort  of  lives 
they  are  severally  the  imitations  I  am  unable  to  say. 

Then,  I  said,  we  must  take  Damon  into  our  counsels ;  and 
he  will  tell  us  what  rhythms  are  expressive  of  meanness, 
or  insolence,  or  fury,  or  other  unworthiness,  and  what  are  to 
be  reserved  for  the  expression  of  opposite  feelings.  And 
I  think  that  I  have  an  indistinct  recollection  of  his  men- 
tioning a  complex  Cretic  rhythm;  also  a  dactylic  or  heroic, 
and  he  arranged  them  in  some  manner  which  I  do  not  quite 
understand,  making  the  rhythms  equal  in  the  rise  and  fall  of 
the  foot,  long  and  short  alternating;  and,  unless  I  am  mistaken, 
he  spoke  of  an  iambic  as  well  as  of  a  trochaic  rhythm,  and 
assigned  to  them  short  and  long  quantities 2.  Also  in  some 
cases  he  appeared  to  praise  or  censure  the  movement  of  the 
foot  quite  as  much  as  the  rhythm ;  or  perhaps  a  combination 
of  the  two ;  for  I  am  not  certain  what  he  meant.  These 
matters,  however,  as  I  was  saying,  had  better  be  referred 
to  Damon  himself,  for  the  analysis  of  the  subject  would 
be  difficult,  you  know  ? 

Rather  so,  I  should  say. 

But  there  is  no  difficulty  in  seeing  that  grace  or  the 
absence  of  grace  is  an  effect  of  good  or  bad  rhythm. 

None  at  all. 

And  also  that  good  and  bad  rhythm  naturally  assimilate  to 
a  good  and  bad  style ;  and  that  harmony  and  discord  in  like 
manner  follow  style;  for  our  principle  is  that  rhythm  and 
harmony  are  regulated  by  the  words,  and  not  the  words 
by  them. 

Just  so,  he  said,  they  should  follow  the  words. 

And  will  not  the  words  and  the  character  of  the  style 
depend  on  the  temper  of  the  soul  ? 

1  i.  e.  the  fonr  notes  of  the  tetrachord. 

a  Socrates  expresses  himself  carelessly  in  accordance  with  his  assumed  igno- 
rance of  the  details  of  the  subject.  In  the  first  part  of  the  sentence  he  appears 
to  be  speaking  of  paeonic  rhythms  which  are  in  the  ratio  of  f ;  in  the  second  part, 
of  dactylic  and  anapaestic  rhythms,  which  are  in  the  ratio  of  \ ;  in  the  last 
clause,  of  iambic  and  trochaic  rhythms,  which  are  in  the  ratio  of  \  or  f . 

Other  artists,  and  not  only  poets,  to  be  under  the  State.  8  7 

Yes.  Republic 

And  everything  else  on  the  style  ?  IIL 


Then  beauty  of  style  and  harmony  and  grace  and  good 

,  .        ,.    .  ,          J  .          -  Simplicity 

rhythm  depend  on  simplicity, — 1  mean  the  true  simplicity  of  the  great 
a  rightly  and  nobly  ordered  mind  and  character,  not  that  first  prin- 
other  simplicity  which  is  only  an  euphemism  for  folly  ? 

Very  true,  he  replied. 

And  if  our  youth  are  to  do  their  work  in  life,  must  they  not 
make  these  graces  and  harmonies  their  perpetual  aim  ? 

They  must. 

401      And  surely  the  art  of  the  painter  and  every  other  creative  andaprm- 
and  constructive  art  are  full  of  them, — weaving,  embroidery,  ^I^defnch 
architecture,  and  every  kind   of  manufacture;    also  nature,   spread  in 
animal  and  vegetable, — in  all  of  them  there  is  grace  or  the  nature  and 
absence   of  grace.     And   ugliness  and   discord   and   inhar- 
monious motion  are  nearly  allied  to  ill  words  and  ill  nature, 
as  grace  and  harmony  are  the  twin  sisters  of  goodness  and 
virtue  and  bear  their  likeness. 

That  is  quite  true,  he  said. 

But  shall  our  superintendence  go  no  further,  and  are  the  Our  titi- 
poets  only  to  be  required  by  us  to  express  the  image  of  the  Z6o^™ustto 
good  in  their  works,  on  pain,  if  they  do   anything  else,  of  manhood 
expulsion  from  our  State  ?    Or  is  the  same  control  to  be  ex-  amidst 
tended  to  other  artists,  and  are  they  also  to  be  prohibited  from  Sions  of 
exhibiting  the  opposite  forms  of  vice  and  intemperance  and  grace  and 
meanness  and  indecency  in  sculpture  and  building  and  the  Oniy  ^ail 
other  creative  arts ;  and  is  he  who  cannot  conform  to  this  rule  ugliness 
of  ours  to  be  prevented  from  practising  his  art  in  our  State,   J^™ 
lest  the  taste  of  our  citizens  be  corrupted   by  him?    We  excluded. 
would  not  have  our  guardians  grow  up  amid  images  of  moral 
deformity,  as  in  some  noxious  pasture,  and  there  browse  and 
feed   upon   many  a  baneful   herb   and  flower  day  by  day, 
little  by  little,  until  they  silently  gather  a  festering  mass  of 
corruption  in  their  own  soul.     Let  our  artists  rather  be  those 
who  are  gifted  to  discern  the  true  nature  of  the  beautiful  and 
graceful ;  then  will  our  youth  dwell  in  a  land  of  health,  amid 
fair  sights  and  sounds,  and  receive  the  good  in  everything ; 
and  beauty,  the  effluence  of  fair  works,  shall  flow  into  the  eye 
and  ear,  like  a  health-giving  breeze  from  a  purer  region,  and 

Music  the  most  potent  instrument  of  education. 



The  power 
of  impart- 
ing grace  is 

by  har- 

The  true 
must  know 
the  essen- 
tial forms 
of  virtue 
and  vice. 

insensibly  draw  the  soul  from  earliest  years  into  likeness  and 
sympathy  with  the  beauty  of  reason. 

There  can  be  no  nobler  training  than  that,  he  replied. 

And  therefore,  I  said,  Glaucon,  musical  training  is  a  more 
potent  instrument  than  any  other,  because  rhythm  and  har- 
mony find  their  way  into  the  inward  places  of  the  soul,  on 
which  they  mightily  fasten,  imparting  grace,  and  making  the 
soul  of  him  who  is  rightly  educated  graceful,  or  of  him  who 
is  ill-educated  ungraceful ;  and  also  because  he  who  has 
received  this  true  education  of  the  inner  being  will  most 
shrewdly  perceive  omissions  or  faults  in  art  and  nature, 
and  with  a  true  taste,  while  he  praises  and  rejoices  over  and  402 
receives  into  his  soul  the  good,  and  becomes  noble  and  good, 
he  will  justly  blame  and  hate  the  bad,  now  in  the  days  of  his 
youth,  even  before  he  is  able  to  know  the  reason  why ;  and 
when  reason  comes  he  will  recognise  and  salute  the  friend 
with  whom  his  education  has  made  him  long  familiar. 

Yes,  he  said,  I  quite  agree  with  you  in  thinking  that  our 
youth  should  be  trained  in  music  and  on  the  grounds  which 
you  mention. 

Just  as  in  learning  to  read,  I  said,  we  were  satisfied  when 
we  knew  the  letters  of  the  alphabet,  which  are  very  few,  in 
all  their  recurring  sizes  and  combinations ;  not  slighting 
them  as  unimportant  whether  they  occupy  a  space  large  or 
small,  but  everywhere  eager  to  make  them  out;  and  not 
thinking  ourselves  perfect  in  the  art  of  reading  until  we 
recognise  them  wherever  they  are  found  l : 

True — 

Or,  as  we  recognise  the  reflection  of  letters  in  the  water, 
or  in  a  mirror,  only  when  we  know  the  letters  themselves ; 
the  same  art  and  study  giving  us  the  knowledge  of  both : 

Exactly — 

Even  so,  as  I  maintain,  neither  we  nor  our  guardians, 
whom  we  have  to  educate,  can  ever  become  musical  until  we 
and  they  know  the  essential  forms  of  temperance,  courage, 
liberality,  magnificence,  and  their  kindred,  as  well  as  the 
contrary  forms,  in  all  their  combinations,  and  can  recognise 
them  and  their  images  wherever  they  are  found,  not  slighting 

1  Cp.  supra,  II.  368  D. 

'  Mem  pulchra  in  corpore  pulchro!  89 

them  either  in  small  things  or  great,  but  believing  them  all  Republic 
to  be  within  the  sphere  of  one  art  and  study. 

Most  assuredly. 

And  when  a  beautiful  soul  harmonizes  with  a  beautiful  _, 

The  har- 

form,  and  the  two  are  cast  in  one  mould,  that  will  be  the  monyof 
fairest  of  sights  to  him  who  has  an  eye  to  see  it  ?  soul  and 

J  body  the 

The  fairest  indeed.  fairest  of 

And  the  fairest  is  also  the  loveliest  ?  sights. 

That  may  be  assumed. 

And  the  man  who  has  the  spirit  of  harmony  will  be  most 
in  love  with  the  loveliest  ;  but  he  will  not  love  him  who  is  of 
an  inharmonious  soul  ? 

That  is  true,  he  replied,  if  the  deficiency  be  in  his  soul  ;  The  true 
but  if  there  be  any  merely  bodily  defect  in  another  he  will  J^^d 
be  patient  of  it,  and  will  love  all  the  same.  defects  of 

I  perceive,  I  said,  that  you  have  or  have  had  experiences  the  P61"5011- 
of  this  sort,  and  I  agree.     But  let  me  ask  you  another  ques- 
tion :  Has  excess  of  pleasure  any  affinity  to  temperance  ? 

How  can  that  be  ?  he  replied  ;  pleasure  deprives  a  man  of 
the  use  of  his  faculties  quite  as  much  as  pain. 

Or  any  affinity  to  virtue  in  general  ? 
403      None  whatever. 

Any  affinity  to  wantonness  and  intemperance  ? 

Yes,  the  greatest. 

And  is  there  any  greater  or  keener  pleasure  than  that  of 
sensual  love  ? 

No,  nor  a  madder. 

Whereas  true  love  is  a  love  of  beauty  and  order  —  tern-  True  love  is 
perate  and  harmonious  ? 

Quite  true,  he  said. 

Then  no  intemperance  or  madness  should  be  allowed  to 
approach  true  love  ? 

Certainly  not. 

Then  mad  or  intemperate  pleasure  must  never  be  allowed  True  love  is 
to  come  near  the  lover  and  his  beloved  ;  neither  of  them  can  ^suaiit1 
have  any  part  in  it  if  their  love  is  of  the  right  sort  ?  and  coarse- 

No,  indeed,  Socrates,  it  must  never  come  near  them.  ness> 

Then  I  suppose  that  in  the  city  which  we  are  founding  you 
would  make  a  law  to  the  effect  that  a  friend  should  use  no 
other  familiarity  to  his  love  than  a  father  would  use  to  his 


The  good  soul  improves  the  body,  not  the  body  the  soul. 



The  body 

the  mind, 

The  usual 

training  of 


son,  and  then  only  for  a  noble  purpose,  and  he  must  first 
have  the  other's  consent  ;  and  this  rule  is  to  limit  him  in 
a11  his  intercourse,  and  he  is  never  to  be  seen  going  further, 
or,  if  he  exceeds,  he  is  to  be  deemed  guilty  of  coarseness  and 
bad  taste. 

I  quite  agree,  he  said. 

Thus  much  of  music,  which  makes  a  fair  ending  ;  for  what 
should  be  the  end  of  music  if  not  the  love  of  beauty  ? 

I  agree,  he  said. 

After  music  comes  gymnastic,  in  which  our  youth  are  next 
to  be  trained. 


Gymnastic  as  well  as  music  should  begin  in  early  years  ;  the 
training  in  it  should  be  careful  and  should  continue  through 
life.  Now  my  belief  is,  —  and  this  is  a  matter  upon  which 
I  should  like  to  have  your  opinion  in  confirmation  of  my  own, 
but  my  own  belief  is,  —  not  that  the  good  body  by  any  bodily 
excellence  improves  the  soul,  but,  on  the  contrary,  that  the 
good  soul,  by  her  own  excellence,  improves  the  body  as 
far  as  this  may  be  possible.  What  do  you  say  ? 

Yes,  I  agree. 

Then,  to  the  mind  when  adequately  trained,  we  shall  be 
right;  in  handing  over  the  more  particular  care  of  the  body  ; 
and  in  order  to  avoid  prolixity  we  will  now  only  give  the 
general  outlines  of  the  subject. 

Very  good. 

That  they  must  abstain  from  intoxication  has  been  already 
remarked  by  us  ;  for  of  all  persons  a  guardian  should  be  the 
last  to  get  drunk  and  not  know  where  in  the  world  he  is. 

Yes,  he  said  ;  that  a  guardian  should  require  another 
guardian  to  take  care  of  him  is  ridiculous  indeed. 

But  next,  what  shall  we  say  of  their  food  ;  for  the  men  are 
in  training  for  the  great  contest  of  all  —  are  they  not  ? 

Yes,  he  said. 

And  will  the  habit  of  body  of  our  ordinary  athletes  be  404 
suited  to  them  ? 

Why  not  ? 

I  am  afraid,  I  said,  that  a  habit  of  body  such  as  they  have 
is  but  a  sleePy  sort  of  thin&  and  rather  perilous  to  health. 
Do  you  not  observe  that  these  athletes  sleep  away  their 

The  simple  gymnastic  twin  sister  of  the  simple  music.  9 1 

lives,    and   are   liable   to   most   dangerous  illnesses   if  they  Republic 
depart,  in   ever  so   slight  a  degree,  from   their   customary      7//< 

regimen  ?  SOCRATES, 


Yes,  I  do. 

Then,  I  said,  a  finer  sort  of  training  will  be  required  for 
our  warrior  athletes,  who  are  to  be  like  wakeful  dogs,  and 
to  see  and  hear  with  the  utmost  keenness ;  amid  the  many 
changes  of  water  and  also  of  food,  of  summer  heat  and 
winter  cold,  which  they  will  have  to  endure  when  on  a 
campaign,  they  must  not  be  liable  to  break  down  in  health. 

That  is  my  view. 

The  really  excellent  gymnastic  is  twin  sister  of  that  simple 
music  which  we  were  just  now  describing. 

How  so  ? 

Why,  I  conceive  that  there  is  a  gymnastic  which,  like  our  Military 
music,  is  simple  and  good  ;   and  especially  the  military  gym-  &ymnastlc- 

What  do  you  mean  ? 

My  meaning  may  be  learned  from  Homer ;  he,  you  know, 
feeds  his  heroes  at  their  feasts,  when  they  are  campaigning, 
on  soldiers'  fare;  they  have  no  fish,  although  they  are  on 
the  shores  of  the  Hellespont,  and  they  are  not  allowed 
boiled  meats  but  only  roast,  which  is  the  food  most  con- 
venient for  soldiers,  requiring  only  that  they  should  light 
a  fire,  and  not  involving  the  trouble  of  carrying  about  pots 
and  pans. 


And  I  can  hardly  be  mistaken  in  saying  that  sweet  sauces 
are  nowhere  mentioned  in  Homer.  In  proscribing  them, 
however,  he  is  not  singular;  all  professional  athletes  are 
well  aware  that  a  man  who  is  to  be  in  good  condition  should 
take  nothing  of  the  kind. 

Yes,  he  said ;  and  knowing  this,  they  are  quite  right  in  not 
taking  them. 

Then  you  would  not  approve  of  Syracusan  dinners,  and  Syracusan 
the  refinements  of  Sicilian  cookery  ?  SrinthSf 

I  think  not.  courtezans 

Nor,  if  a  man  is  to  be  in  condition,  would  you  allow  him  to 
have  a  Corinthian  girl  as  his  fair  friend  ? 
Certainly  not. 

The  vanity  of  doctors  and  lawyers. 



The  luxuri- 
ous style  of 
living  may 
be  justly 
to  the  pan- 
strain  of 

Every  man 
should  be 
his  own 
doctor  and 

Bad  as  it  is 
to  go  to 
law,  it  is 
still  worse 
to  be  a 
lover  of 

Neither  would  you  approve  of  the  delicacies,  as  they  are 
thought,  of  Athenian  confectionary? 

Certainly  not. 

All  such  feeding  and  living  may  be  rightly  compared  by 
us  to  melody  and  song  composed  in  the  panharmonic  style, 
and  in  all  the  rhythms. 


There  complexity  engendered  licence,  and  here  disease; 
whereas  simplicity  in  music  was  the  parent  of  temperance  in 
the  soul ;  and  simplicity  in  gymnastic  of  health  in  the  body. 

Most  true,  he  said. 

But  when  intemperance  and  diseases  multiply  in  a  State,  405 
halls  of  justice  and  medicine  are  always  being  opened  ;   and 
the  arts  of  the  doctor  and  the  lawyer  give  themselves  airs, 
finding  how  keen  is  the  interest  which  not  only  the  slaves 
but  the  freemen  of  a  city  take  about  them. 

Of  course. 

And  yet  what  greater  proof  can  there  be  of  a  bad  and  dis- 
graceful state  of  education  than  this,  that  not  only  artisans 
and  the  meaner  sort  of  people  need  the  skill  of  first-rate  phy- 
sicians and  judges,  but  also  those  who  would  profess  to  have 
had  a  liberal  education  ?  Is  it  not  disgraceful,  and  a  great 
sign  of  the  want  of  good-breeding,  that  a  man  should  have  to 
go  abroad  for  his  law  and  physic  because  he  has  none  of  his 
own  at  home,  and  must  therefore  surrender  himself  into  the 
hands  of  other  men  whom  he  makes  lords  and  judges  over 

Of  all  things,  he  said,  the  most  disgraceful. 

Would  you  say  '  most,'  I  replied,  when  you  consider  that 
there  is  a  further  stage  of  the  evil  in  which  a  man  is  not  only 
a  life-long  litigant,  passing  all  his  days  in  the  courts,  either 
as  plaintiff  or  defendant,  but  is  actually  led  by  his  bad  taste 
to  pride  himself  on  his  litigiousness  ;  he  imagines  that  he  is 
a  master  in  dishonesty;  able  to  take  every  crooked  turn,  and 
wriggle  into  and  out  of  every  hole,  bending  like  a  withy  and 
getting  out  of  the  way  of  justice :  and  all  for  what  ? — in 
order  to  gain  small  points  not  worth  mentioning,  he  not 
knowing  that  so  to  order  his  life  as  to  be  able  to  do  without 
a  napping  judge  is  a  far  higher  and  nobler  sort  of  thing.  Is 
not  that  still  more  disgraceful  ? 

Asclepius  and  Her  odious.  93 

Yes,  he  said,  that  is  still  more  disgraceful.  Republic 

Well,  I  said,  and  to  require  the  help  of  medicine,  not  when      /7/' 

a  wound  has  to  be  cured,  or  on  occasion  of  an  epidemic,  but 

just  because,  by  indolence  and  a  habit  of  life  such  as  we  have 

been  describing,  men  fill  themselves  with  waters  and  winds,   require  the 

as  if  their  bodies  were  a  marsh,  compelling  the  ingenious  helP°f 

f  A      i  r»     i  c        I-  i  medicine. 

sons  of  Asclepius  to  find  more  names  for  diseases,  such  as 
flatulence  and  catarrh  ;  is  not  this,  too,  a  disgrace  ? 

Yes,  he  said,  they  do  certainly  give  very  strange  and  new- 
fangled names  to  diseases. 

Yes,  I  said,  and  I  do  not  believe  that  there  were  any  such  in  the  time 
diseases  in  the  days  of  Asclepius;  and  this  I  infer  from  the  pj^^of 
circumstance  that  the  hero  Eurypylus,  after  he  has  been  Homer  the 
wounded  in  Homer,  drinks  a  posset  of  Pramnian  wine  well  J^icine°f 
406  besprinkled  with  barley-meal  and  grated  cheese,  which  are  was  very 
certainly  inflammatory,  and  yet  the  sons  of  Asclepius  who  were  simPle- 
at  the  Trojan  war  do  not  blame  the  damsel  who  gives  him 
the  drink,  or  rebuke  Patroclus,  who  is  treating  his  case. 

Well,  he  said,  that  was  surely  an  extraordinary  drink  to  be 
given  to  a  person  in  his  condition. 

Not  so  extraordinary,  I  replied,  if  you  bear  in  mind  that  The  nurs- 
in  former  days,  as  is  commonly  said,  before  the  time  of  ^JiLfan 
Herodicus,  the  guild  of  Asclepius  did  not  practise  our  pre-  with  He- 
sent  system  of  medicine,   which  may  be  said   to  educate  rodicus- 
diseases.     But  Herodicus,  being  a  trainer,  and  himself  of  a 
sickly  constitution,  by  a  combination  of  training  and  doctor- 
ing found  out  a  way  of  torturing  first  and  chiefly  himself, 
and  secondly  the  rest  of  the  world. 

How  was  that  ?  he  said. 

By  the  invention  of  lingering  death  ;  for  he  had  a  mortal 
disease  which  he  perpetually  tended,  and  as  recovery  was  out 
of  the  question,  he  passed  his  entire  life  as  a  valetudinarian  ; 
he  could  do  nothing  but  attend  upon  himself,  and  he  was 
in  constant  torment  whenever  he  departed  in  anything  from 
his  usual  regimen,  and  so  dying  hard,  by  the  help  of  science 
he  struggled  on  to  old  age. 

A  rare  reward  of  his  skill  ! 

Yes,  I  said  ;  a  reward  which  a  man  might  fairly  expect 
who  never  understood  that,  if  Asclepius  did  not  instruct  his 
descendants  in  valetudinarian  arts,  the  omission  arose,  not 


The  saying  of  Phocy tides. 



The  work- 
has  no  time 
for  tedious 

The  slow 

equally  an 
ment to  the 
arts,  to  the 
practice  of 

from  ignorance  or  inexperience  of  such  a  branch  of  medicine, 
but  because  he  knew  that  in  all  well-ordered  states  every 
individual  has  an  occupation  to  which  he  must  attend,  and 
has  therefore  no  leisure  to  spend  in  continually  being  ill. 
This  we  remark  in  the  case  of  the  artisan,  but,  ludicrously 
enough,  do  not  apply  the  same  rule  to  people  of  the  richer 

How  do  you  mean  ?  he  said. 

I  mean  this  :  When  a  carpenter  is  ill  he  asks  the  physician 
for  a  rough  and  ready  cure ;  an  emetic  or  a  purge  or  a  cautery 
or  the  knife, — these  are  his  remedies.  And  if  some  one  pre- 
scribes for  him  a  course  of  dietetics,  and  tells  him  that  he 
must  swathe  and  swaddle  his  head,  and  all  that  sort  of  thing, 
he  replies  at  once  that  he  has  no  time  to  be  ill,  and  that  he  sees 
no  good  in  a  life  which  is  spent  in  nursing  his  disease  to  the 
neglect  of  his  customary  employment ;  and  therefore  bidding 
good-bye  to  this  sort  of  physician,  he  resumes  his  ordinary 
habits,  and  either  gets  well  and  lives  and  does  his  business, 
or,  if  his  constitution  fails,  he  dies  and  has  no  more  trouble. 

Yes,  he  said,  and  a  man  in  his  condition  of  life  ought  to 
use  the  art  of  medicine  thus  far  only. 

Has  he  not,  I  said,  an  occupation ;   and  what  profit  would  407 
there  be  in  his  life  if  he  were  deprived  of  his  occupation  ? 

Quite  true,  he  said. 

But  with  the  rich  man  this  is  otherwise ;  of  him  we  do  not 
say  that  he  has  any  specially  appointed  work  which  he  must 
perform,  if  he  would  live. 

He  is  generally  supposed  to  have  nothing  to  do. 

Then  you  never  heard  of  the  saying  of  Phocylides,  that  as 
soon  as  a  man  has  a  livelihood  he  should  practise  virtue  ? 

Nay,  he  said,  I  think  that  he  had  better  begin  somewhat 

Let  us  not  have  a  dispute  with  him  about  this,  I  said ;  but 
rather  ask  ourselves :  Is  the  practice  of  virtue  obligatory  on 
the  rich  man,  or  can  he  live  without  it  ?  And  if  obligatory 
on  him,  then  let  us  raise  a  further  question,  whether  this 
dieting  of  disorders,  which  is  an  impediment  to  the  ap- 
plication of  the  mind  in  carpentering  and  the  mechanical 
arts,  does  not  equally  stand  in  the  way  of  the  sentiment 
of  Phocylides  ? 

Asclepius  a  statesman.  95 

Of  that,  he  replied,  there  can  be  no  doubt ;   such  excessive  Republic 
care  of  the  body,  when  carried  beyond  the  rules  of  gymnastic,      ///> 
is  most  inimical  to  the  practice  of  virtue.  SOCRATES, 

1  Yes,  indeed,  I  replied,  and  equally  incompatible  with  the  and     an 
management  of  a  house,  an  army,  or  an  office  of  state ;  and,   kind  of 
what  is  most  important  of  all,  irreconcileable  with  any  kind  Stud7  or 
of  study  or  thought  or  self-reflection — there  is  a  constant 
suspicion  that  headache  and  giddiness  are  to  be  ascribed  to 
philosophy,  and  hence  all  practising  or  making  trial  of  virtue 
in  the  higher  sense  is  absolutely  stopped;    for  a  man   is 
always  fancying  that  he  is  being  made  ill,  and  is  in  constant 
anxiety  about  the  state  of  his  body. 

Yes,  likely  enough. 

And  therefore  our  politic  Asclepius  may  be  supposed  to  Asclepius 
have  exhibited  the  power  of  his  art  only  to  persons  who,  ^fdis-0t 
being  generally  of  healthy  constitution  and  habits  of  life,  had  eased  con- 
a  definite  ailment ;    such  as  these  he  cured  by  purges  and  j^^g s 
operations,  and  bade  them  live  as  usual,  herein  consulting  they  were 
the  interests  of  the  State;    but  bodies  which   disease  had 
penetrated  through    and    through  he  would    not  have  at- 
tempted to  cure  by  gradual  processes  of  evacuation  and  in- 
fusion :    he  did  not  want  to  lengthen  out  good-for-nothing 
lives,  or  to  have  weak  fathers  begetting  weaker  sons ; — if  a 
man  was  not  able  to  live  in  the  ordinary  way  he  had  no 
business  to  cure  him ;    for  such  a  cure  would  have  been  of 
no  use  either  to  himself,  or  to  the  State. 

Then,  he  said,  you  regard  Asclepius  as  a  statesman.